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  1. #1
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    Default Fan veils or Isis wings?

    I've been going to beginner level belly dancing classes for almost two years. Our teacher wants to start a new choreography with us soon incorporating either fan veils or Isis wings. So we need to decide by the next class which one we would rather learn. She did a demo of both and I think the Isis wings looks very impressive and possibly easier. I also liked the fan veils and as I can use poi I was thinking that those skills would complement learning how to dance with fan veils.

    I'm still undecided. Does anyone have any pros or cons of learning either?

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    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    How about "none of the above"? Why not ask her to teach you a prop that actually comes from the countries that belly dance comes from? For example, a cane?

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    Member mahsati_janan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiradotnet View Post
    How about "none of the above"? Why not ask her to teach you a prop that actually comes from the countries that belly dance comes from? For example, a cane?
    Seems a bit hasty considering we don't know what style the teacher is teaching or the student is learning. If the teacher has offered them the option of fan veils or isis wings, then it is likely that the teacher has a reason for choosing those items.

    Karen: Our teacher wants to start a new choreography with us soon incorporating either fan veils or Isis wings. So we need to decide by the next class which one we would rather learn.
    In terms of pros and cons of learning and using either, it is always good to learn as many things as you can so that you have options available. Neither is traditional in Egyptian/Turkish/Lebanese, but both are common in American Orientale and in Tribal Fusion styles right now.

    Do you know what kind of performance this would be for? That might also help decide. If you have a lot of people on a relatively small stage, then isis wings are going to be less useful than if you have a large/tall area where you can all have full extension.

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    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    I haven't tried fan veils but in my experience Isis Wings are actually pretty difficult and takes a lot of practice. Problem is... it is darn difficult to find a place big enough to practice in

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    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mahsati_janan View Post
    Seems a bit hasty considering we don't know what style the teacher is teaching or the student is learning. If the teacher has offered them the option of fan veils or isis wings, then it is likely that the teacher has a reason for choosing those items.
    No doubt the teacher does have a reason. And I realize that you sell videos containing fan veil instruction, so I imagine you're rather invested in encouraging people to learn/use these props.

    You're right, of course, that we don't necessarily know what Karen's class has already been taught. It's possible that they have already been taught props from the Middle East such as cane.

    But there IS an epidemic in our dance form of students learning to wave props around before they know how to actually DANCE. Where does this epidemic of proptastic dancing by people who haven't yet mastered the basics come from? Teachers who introduce props before students are sufficiently experienced in dance fundamentals.

    Once someone can dance skillfully enough to add props into the mix, why not start with props from the Middle East? Why not start with canes and balancing?

    Isis wings are particularly noxious because they are very unforgiving of posture flaws, plus they're very limiting in terms of what can be done with them, and therefore they can be rather boring to watch.
    Last edited by shiradotnet; 04-19-2011 at 05:54 PM.

  6. #6
    Member mahsati_janan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiradotnet View Post
    No doubt the teacher does have a reason. And I realize that you sell videos containing fan veil instruction, so I imagine you're rather invested in encouraging people to learn/use these props.
    You may think that, but you'd be mistaken. I provide instruction for people who are looking for it. Feel free to check around the web; I don't proselytize for fan veil use at all. I answer questions when asked and I provide a link to my videos in my signature lines. That's it. It doesn't matter to me if everyone stops dancing with fan veils. I think it is unlikely because it is a fun prop and a nice addition to the modern form of our dance, but it isn't a big deal if no one else agrees.

    Quote Originally Posted by shiradotnet View Post
    But there IS an epidemic in our dance form of students learning to wave props around before they know how to actually DANCE. Where does this epidemic of proptastic dancing by people who haven't yet mastered the basics come from? Teachers who introduce props before students are sufficiently experienced in dance fundamentals.

    Once someone can dance skillfully enough to add props into the mix, why not start with props from the Middle East? Why not start with canes and balancing?

    Isis wings are particularly noxious because they are very unforgiving of posture flaws, plus they're very limiting in terms of what can be done with them, and therefore they can be rather boring to watch.
    This is the thing. As you mentioned, you don't have any idea what this teacher has taught the students. It is honestly quite rude to simply assume that the teacher doesn't know or care about it and that after 2 years of instruction that the student isn't ready to learn these props. Do my students learn fan veils? Sure - in separate sessions outside of the regular classes. They also learn cane, shamadan, tray balancing, sword, veil, double veil, scarf, candles, water jug balancing, fire bowl balancing, and more. These are covered in special prop sessions unless they are folkloric, in which case they show up in their respective folkloric sections. By assuming that this teacher is one of those that just starts passing out props willy-nilly, you are disrespecting the knowledge and skill of someone without anything to base that on.

    I agree that there are a lot of prop-fail-tastic dancers, teachers, and classes out there, but you have no indication that *this* class falls into those categories.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mahsati_janan View Post
    This is the thing. As you mentioned, you don't have any idea what this teacher has taught the students. It is honestly quite rude to simply assume that the teacher doesn't know or care about it and that after 2 years of instruction that the student isn't ready to learn these props.
    Now, I didn't "simply assume that the teacher doesn't know or care". I just suggested that, since the teacher is inviting input, it might be good to request a prop that will offer an opportunity to learn more about the foundation upon which the American reinterpretation of belly dance is based.
    Last edited by shiradotnet; 04-19-2011 at 07:31 PM.

  8. #8
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    Between fan veils and isis wings, I much prefer fan veils. I used to dislike them out of principle, because indeed, they are not authentic from the Middle East. But after watching some beautiful performances with them and buying a pair for myself, I've changed my mind. They are a lot of fun!

    I like them better than isis wings because they are equally dramatic but allow a wider range of movement and expression, which equals freedom. With isis wings I feel restricted, there really is only so much you can do with them... and when you have them on, you are partially hidden. With fan veils people can see you better and there is more you can do... although I do find them more limiting than veils (but at the same time more fun).

    Isis wings require a lot of space, but so do fan veils... they can be done in a relatively smaller space but not much. You really need the space to extend your arms and extend your energy through to the fabric.

    All that being said, I personally use fan veils the same way I use veils... as an entrance prop that I toss out fairly early on in my performance as opposed to dancing with it for a full song.

    I think you should go on youtube and look up some performances with both these props... see what inspires you the most, and vote for that one!
    Last edited by Yame; 04-19-2011 at 07:50 PM.

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    Member seona's Avatar
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    Hi Karen, check out "yallar fan veil dance" on youtube, for me it's a nice example of fan veil. I happened to stumble upon this clip once and really enjoyed it. Personally for me I would prefer to watch fan veils if given a choice , as for dancing I think I'd choose the f/veils over the wings. Although I've never used wings, and I didn't really get on with f/veils personally, visually I prefer to watch the veils. You should cruise YouTube for some ideas and inspiration!
    Last edited by seona; 04-19-2011 at 08:16 PM.

  10. #10
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    I'm a huge fan of wings, so I'd probably advocate for wings over fan veil on the provisio that the choreography isn't just a lot of 'wow, look at what my wings can do'. Wings are only limited by your imagination and your skill as a dancer. Obviously, like any prop, there are limitations to what you can do with them, but they can be a fantastic way to frame and highlight your more spectacular moves and they are a fantastic way to accent the parts of the music that call for something 'liquid'. (I think the second comment applies to fan veil too, however I haven't yet seen any examples of how fan veils can be still-posed to highlight & accent juicy moves, which is what I love about wings the most)

    I feel that there is unwarranted snark towards props in this thread that really doesn't belong here. Perhaps a thread debating the legitimacy of props in bellydance might be a better place to air those grievances?
    Last edited by Darshiva; 04-19-2011 at 09:25 PM. Reason: coherence

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