Middle Eastern Dance
Basics of Balancing a Scimitar
Below you will find information on how to balance your sword on your head and other parts of your body..

Determining The Center Of Weight In Your Sword
Determining the center of weight in your sword can be difficult at first but with practice you will be able to find it
quickly and easily.  The first thing to remember is that the center of weight is not always the center of of the object. 
The center of weight in a scimitar is often closer to the hilt (handle).  On some scimitars there may be a notch or  
notches in the blade were your center of weight is.  Where you balance the sword will differ depending on were you put
your sword and the sword itself.  Different styles of swords will balance differently.  The best way to figure out the
center of weight is to play around with it and figure it out.  Once you find it you may want to put a piece of tape on that
spot to make it easier to find the next time.

Learning To Balance Your Sword On Your Head
Balancing your sword on your head is one of the trickiest parts of dancing with a sword... scratch that, it is the trickiest
part of dancing with a sword.  Luckily we have a couple tricks up our belts.  Now, for the purpose of showmanship we
don't generally use headpieces that appear to help the scimitar stay on our heads, it takes away from the ability of the
dancer and the audience will not be as amused.  So what do we do?  We use a couple things to cause friction between
the sword and our heads.  There are several things that you can use to do that.  First, and probably the easiest thing is
to use hairspray in your hair (Most of us already do that anyway, right?), second is to put something on your sword to
make it want to stick to the hairspray.  The two most common methods of doing that are to put Liquid Latex (Which
comes in a variety of colors) or a grip cream.  Liquid Latex can be found all over the place during Halloween or at any
costume supply shop at any time.  I have used "Ben Nye Makeup Liquid Latex" and had success with that but there are
many other brands which will work too.  Now, the problem with liquid latex is that some people are allergic to latex
and also that it often takes a little more work to get off of the blade.  To put it on the blade, just wipe it on to the spot
that you will balance on your head,  it usually comes in a bottle with a brush (like nail polish).  I prefer to use grip
creme such as "ProGrip by Columbia 300 Grip Creme Non-Slip"  Grip creme can be obtained at any bowling supply
store and sometimes comes with your purchase of a scimitar.  It goes on clear and comes off easily.  To apply it, you
simply take a Q-tip, Kleenex, application brush, or your finger and wipe it onto the desired area, let it dry for a minute
or two and then your ready to go.  To remove it you can just rub it off or use a damp cloth to wash it off.  Do not apply
either the latex or the grip creme directly to your hair (although they can be applied to the skin if you were planning to
balance it elsewhere).  These tips will help keep it on your head and from veining while on your head.  Another little
trick is to have notches on the part of the blade that you will balance on your body.  That way you have your own little
grooves that grip onto your hair.  If your sword does not have these already you can use a metal file to create your
own but if your blade has a special finish this could crack and ruin the finish.  The grooves do not need to be very big to
work in fact smaller ones are hader to notice and yet provide grip.

Balancing Your Sword On Other Parts Of Your Body
Balancing your sword on other parts of your body can be difficult but you may find help in using the same techniques
as above.  If your going to balance your sword somewhere specific you may want to spray a little hairspray on that
spot of your body, apply some liquid latex or rub on a little grip creme.  You may find that certain costumes provide a
little help too.  Experiment with different costumes to see how they help or make things worse.  On the moves page you
will find more about  balancing your sword on other parts of your body.
Danse du sabre by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904). heliogravure. 1870
Danse du sabre by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904). heliogravure. 1870