Middle Eastern Dance
Basics of Balancing a Tray
Below you will find information on how to balance your tray on your head.

Learning To Balance Your Tray On Your Head
Balancing your tray on your head can be a difficult thing to learn.  At times it could seem downright impossible. 
However implementing a few tricks of the trade can help to make this much easier.  The first trick is to wrap your head
in a turban.  This type of turban should be wrapped in a way that creates a wider surface around the head and is
relatively flat on top or has a slight dip on top.  This will make your balancing area wider thereby creating more
stability for the tray.  If your just getting started this is probably the best trick to implement.  If you decide not to use a
turban at least wrapping a scarf over your head tied under the hair can be helpful too.  The second trick (which can be
used whether of not you choose to wear a turban, scarf or just plain hair) is to create friction between the tray and
your head (or fabric).  There are a number of ways that this can be done.  The first and very permanent way is to use
sand paper in a medium or coarse grain to scratch up the bottom center of the tray.  This will make the surface rough
and create more friction than a smooth bottom.  There are also some less permanent means of adding friction.  You
can do a semi permanent fix by gluing glitter (or sand) to the bottom center of the tray.  You'll want to avoid using hot
glue (which can melt in the heat or sun) and glues which are highly water soluble (which can wear away with sweat,
condensation, or spilled drinks)  Many of these glues could be removed later with a little work and minimal damage to
the  tray.  If you really just want a temporary means of creating friction you can use a grip cream which you can
simply wipe onto the bottom center.  You can also add a little glitter or sand to the grip cream if you want some added
friction.  Grip cream will dry a little bit so it doesn't just wipe off by wearing the tray but can be wiped off after
performances with just a cloth and a little pressure or by washing it off.  You could also try using liquid latex which can
be removed by rubbing it off /peeling it off or with mineral oil.  You can also rub wax on the bottom of the tray. 
Another tip is to look for heavier trays.  The heavier the tray is it will usually be easier to balance no matter what other
tricks you implement in order to keep it in place.

Keeping The Tray's Contents From Sliding Around
Balancing the tray on your head is only half the job!  Whether your doing a traditional teapot and cups or lit candles
you don't want those things sliding around.  It can be dangerous and shifting contents will constantly change the
center of gravity for the tray.  You could glue everything down permanently but if people find out it ruins the entire
illusion.  So instead try using some of the same techniques mentioned previously for creating friction.  You can use
glue and glitter/sand but I personally recommend less noticeable techniques such as grip cream, liquid latex, or wax. 
These things will provide friction but are not as noticeable as having glued glitter to your tray.  This means they help
maintain the illusion better. In addition to adding friction most people find that heavier objects are easier to keep in
place and balance.  Of course make sure that your trays contents are evenly placed around the tray so that the weight
is even on all sides and will not have a tendency to tip in any particular direction.

Tarik Sultan performing Seneeya with lit candles.
Danse du sabre by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904). heliogravure. 1870