Below you will find information about balancing and dancing with other items in bellydance.
There are numerous items that have and can be balanced and used as a prop in bellydancing. Although most would not constitute an entire traditional dance there are instances where native dancers utilize other items as a sort of gimick. Just as in many dance and entertainment forms people like to offer something
unique which helps make a name for themself. Most of the time the items
used will be common and otherwise ordinary. For example a dancer
performing in a Middle Eastern coffee shop may pick up a shisha and
balance it on their head while dancing. American dancer Tarik Sultan is
known for his Raqs il-Shisha (waterpipe dance) which can be viewed in
the video to the right. Dances like this share elements in common with
traditional dances such as Shamadan or Senneeya but offer a variation
that is far less common. If you chose to perform with a shisha make sure
the hose is securely tied in place so it will not fly around and hurt
someone or cause you to trip.
Glasses especially filled with liquid (which enhances the dramatic
tension) are common similar to senneeya in general but glasses are also
sometimes used to dance on top of. In these cases the glasses are
overturned and must have a thick stem and preferably thicker build in
general. This is definately a gimick meant to create suspense and drama.
It can be seen by dancers all over the world and in general you can do
pretty much any move once on them.
In an early Tomas Edison film, a dancer by the name of Princess Rajah who is supposedly performing bellydance, balances
a chair in her teeth. These feats of balance and strength are often just
showmanship so encountering them even in a native setting doesn't
necessarily equate to being a folk dance or common accessory. In any
even whatever you choose to balance or dance with, you should make
certain that you can perform with it safely. Make sure you know your
prop in and out in order to decrease any risk of accident or damage and
don't perform with it until you are very comfortable with it. You can
utilize most of the timps and tricks used for other more common items
to balance nearly anything safely.
Tarik Sultan performing his raqs il-shisha at Zaghareet in Queen's Hall, St. Ann's. Photography by Edison Boodoosingh.