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