Wednesday Inspiration: Shamadan Dance

I fell in love with the shamadan the first time I saw a performance with one.  I am not usually a fan of  dancing with open flame or even really balancing (this could be laziness on my part!), but there is something so lovely and enchanting about the shamadan- perhaps its association with weddings and joy- that I had to add it to my repertoire of props.  It may be my favorite prop of all, too.  The happiness in the crowd's faces when they see a shamadan is really something.  I think it has happy memories and associations for Arab audiences, and non-Arab audiences just thing it's amazing even without any cultural background.

People always ask me the shamadan is heavy and the answer is: yes.  But you can easily get used to it by wearing it just a few minutes at a time, on and off, so don't let that discourage you if you would like to add this joyful prop to your own act.

Below is short but sweet clip of a shamadan dancer from an old film.  The comments below the clip are retained from The CaroVan for the cultural context.

Happy Dancing and Enjoy!

xo Alisa Greer

Someone kindly supplied the details of the film this shamadan clip's from when it was on the YT channel. Unfortunately all the details were in the comments section and have been lost. Any clues? The clip is set in a hamam (bathhouse) during Layl al Aroosa, the night (or two nights) before the wedding ceremony, The bride takes a ritual bath and henna's applied to the bride and everyone else. Its all considered a bit old fashioned now particularly as every house has its own bathroom and there's no need to go to a communal bathhouse. My experience has been that henna artists come to the house where all the ladies have gathered. During the henna there's food, music (if the music is live the musicians are always female), lots of dancing and joy.