Middle Eastern Dance
Basics of Balancing a Basket, Pot, or Jug
Below you will find information on how to balance your basket, pot,or jug on your head.

Learning To Balance Your Basket, Pot, Or Jug On Your Head
Balancing your container on your head can be tricky at first but with a little practice and the right tips can become
quite easy.  The best way to make sure it will be easy to balance is to purchase containers that are specifically designed
for use as a dance prop that will be balanced on the head.  These are not always easy to find though so knowing what to
look for in regular baskets and pottery can be helpful.  First thing you want to look for is a curved bottom.  Baskets that
have a flexible weave could be shaped or "re-trained" to have a concave bottom and less flexible ones can be wetted
and then shaped to the head.  Baskets usually need to be weighted and you can simply line the bottom edges with sacks
of dried beans or rice.  I suppose you could buy or sew a cloth snake that is filled with dried beans or rice and coil it
around the bottom instead but that seems a little pointless unless you going to be showing the contents off.  Pottery
with a concave bottom is not completely uncommon to find either.  With pottery a wider base will be easier to balance
as opposed to a small base which will be easier to tip.  With tribal performances and certain traditional dances like
Fezzani you can wear head pieces that can help to hold the piece in place as well.  Of course you want to make this
subtle since you want to maintain the illusion that balancing the container is difficult and tricky.  That's part of the
showmanship involved in the dance.  Unlike canes and scimitars containers are rarely balanced anywhere other than
the head.  They are however rested and held against other parts of the body.  Most commonly the will be rested against
the shoulder or hip but they are not left to balance there.
Khadeja of Ahlam Dance Theatre performing traditional Tunisian Fezzani.
Danse du sabre by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904). heliogravure. 1870