Middle Eastern Dance
Basket, Pot, and Jug Basics
Below you will find basic information on buying and caring for your basket, pot, or jug.

Buying a Basket, Pot, or Jug
Buying a basket, pot, or jug can be easier than buying other specialty props because you can get them from all kinds of
stores.  Stores that cater to Middle Eastern dancers may carry specially designed baskets and pots that are more
shaped to your head to balance better but you can often find workable products from craft stores like Michaels or even
in the home decor sections of Retail giants like Target.  Granted, most of those stores will be carrying plain baskets but
they have the added advantage of availabliity and lower price (especially if you manage to get clearance finds).  Often
baskets of all sorts get put on clearance after Easter so that's an excellent time to check.  Decorative baskets like
Nubian baskets are harder to find.  you will need to look at stores that carry international ethinc type products like
Pier One or World Goods.  Small ethnic stores carrying Midlde Eastern and/or African products sometimes carry these
products as well.  If nothing else of course you can find anything online.  You should expect to pay anywhere from $5-
$100 for a basket.  Decorative ones raging $40-$100, while plain ones usually under $40 varying in price based on
size, material, quality, and shape.  Pottery could be made or bought.  Many stores sell a variety of differnt types of
pots.  I've even found a fantastic little Egyptian Oula at a dollar store.  Ideally you want to look for pieces that have a
wide concave bottom that can sit like a a small cap on your head.  Again, if you can't find it locally, you can find
anything on the internet.  there is a wide variety of styles both plain and decorative and several material.  Usually a
nice reddish terracotta works well.  Because of the wide variation in design and material you can find usable pottery
from as low $10 to $200 for more decorative pieces.  You can also consider making your own pottery or comissioning
a piece from a skilled artisan.  Special orders often cost aroud $50-$80 but would give you exactly what you want
made to order (you could even have them custom fit it to your head.

Taking Care Of Your Basket, Pot, or Jug
Baskets can be re-shapped to fit your head by soaking them in warm water till flexible and slightly soft.  Place a towel
ofter your head and the place the basket on your head.  Push it down to shape it where you want it.  You could also add
some bags of dry beasn around the outside to help weigh it down and shape it.  It might help to have someone assist
you with the shaping.  Cleaning a pasket is quite easy they can be washed with water and mild soap, wiped down with a
damp cloth, or even cleaned with furniture spray like pledge.  Colored pieces should be wiped with a damp cloth.  You
can test the colorfastnes of the designs in an inconspicuous spot to see if soap or furniture spray have any effect.  If not
then you can use them to clean it but if the color fades or wipes of then stick with gently wiping with a soft damp cloth. 
If you wash it or re-shape it make sure you get it nice and dry so it does not mold.  Ideally you could place it in the sun
on a warm day but you could also use a hair dryer on a low-medium setting to help dry it out faster.  If your basket is
starting to come apart you can use wood, craft, or essentially any glue that adhears to wood and dries clear.  dap small
amounts behind frays, and such then hold together till tacky or dry.  Some baskets may have been sewn together so a
sturdy needly and matching thread could be used to sew pieces back together.  Always inspect your basket before and
after each use to catch things right away.  Catching the issue when it's small and just starting will let you make smaller
repairs and keep the basket in good condition longer.  Waiting till the problem is worse can make it more difficult to
repair.  Pottery should be treaded much like glass.  You want to avoid dropping it of course and you want to pack it
carfully so that it does not get damagedin your suitcase, dance bag, or whatever it is traveling in (even if it's your
backseat).  Depending on the finish and any treatments you could use various cleaning products to keep your pottery
clean and in good condition.  A little warm water and mild soap will generally work for most anything though.  If your
pottery breaks you can use certain types of glue to glue it back together especially ones made for pottery, terra cotta,
porcelin, or possibly glass.  These types of glue should adhere better to your pottery.  Try not to use excess glue and
wipe it off noticable areas when possible to minimize the appearance of the glue or crack and make sure to match
pieces up as close as you can.
The Marriage Market by Edwin Long (1829-1891). Oil.
DANSE ORIENTALE - La danse du sabre. chromo. 1880