I had the distinct privilege to attend and perform at the Mussleburgh Hafla last week. Elspeth SwishandHips organised and compared most of the night, as well as dancing twice – what a woman!

There was a huge variety of performances – from professional dancers to beginners, in groups, duets and solos with styles ranging from modern Egyptian through to tribal fusion with much in-between. Props used on the night included sagats (also called zills or finger cymbals), stick/cane (two different dancers used this, and did so quite differently), veil and fan veils (courtesy of yours truly).

A fan veil, if you’ve never seen one before, is pretty much what it says on the tin – a fan (usually wooden, sometimes plastic) with a silk veil attached. They come in all sorts of different lengths (I believe the “standard” length is 1.5 yards) and a variety of colours. They are fun to work with – similar to veils as they share that beautiful, floating quality, though are different in the sorts of things you can do with them. Here’s a shot of me using mine with the fan closed taken my Douglas Cutt (and there are loads more of the hafla on his website)

In as much as the fan veils are a lot of fun, just like any other prop I find it can be quite hard when dancing with said prop to not let it take over the show and I worked quite hard to make sure my performance was a fan veil bellydance performance. From my perspective I succeeded and I’m really quite pleased with what I put together; hopefully you guys will be too!

I filmed Elspeth’s first dance – quite badly I must admit, I kept being distracted by her performance as I looked at it over the camera, and as such wasn’t concentrating on keeping the camera tracked properly on her! Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

There are loads more videos of the hafla performances on Elspeth’s YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/shimmyology

I’ve also set up a new YouTube channel for my bellydancing videos – both the ones taken of me and the ones I take of other people. You can find me at: http://www.youtube.com/user/ShelleyDancing

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