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How Do I Dance with a Sword?

Traditionally, sword routines as part of belly dancing is a western addition. It is said that some Middle Eastern dancers may have incorporated a sword into their movements if the audience was thus inspired, but the practice didn’t become popular until the 1970s in the United States. Nonetheless, sword dancing is an exotic addition to your repertoire.

How to Buy a Sword

The best way to buy a sword is to try it out in person. The sword needs to balance well. At the very least, balance prospective swords on your hand. No matter how pretty it looks, if it doesn’t balance well on your hand, it’s unlikely to balance well anywhere else.

Likewise, pay attention to the surface of the sword. Some finishes can make the sword slippery. Chromed models are especially noted for this.

Finally, choose a heavy sword. Light swords simply don’t have enough weight to stay put when you’re dancing.


Learn How to Balance

The whole beauty of sword dancing is the contrast of balancing this heavy weapon on your body while performing delicate movements. The key to that is the actual balance, though.

Swords typically get balanced on the head, hip, shoulder or stomach during the dance. Choose one of those spots, and just start learning how to balance the sword there. Don’t try to dance right away – just get the balancing part down. Once you feel like the sword is secure, try moving in a slow circle. Watch your toes! The sword will almost certainly fall a few times.

After you’ve managed balancing and turning, try some basic isolations. For instance, balance the sword on your head and try some basic hip slides. Once again, watch your toes! Unfortunately, if the sword keeps falling, the problem may be that you’re not fully isolating your body. If that’s the case, back to basics on the isolations.

Moves for Sword Dancing

Many dancers perform rib, hip or arm isolations while balancing the sword on their head. Undulating in this position is another popular choice, as is a slow turn. However, some dancers have become proficient enough to travel or move up and down while balancing the sword on their head.

If balancing the sword on your hip or stomach, turns are more common. In fact, one show-stopping move is to balance the sword on your hip and revolve your body so that the sword stays put. There’s no trick to that move – it’s all about staying perfectly balanced. It simply takes practice.

It is not necessary to keep the sword balanced at all times during the dance. The key is to dance with the sword at all times. Many dancers like to pose the sword directly above their heads as they turn. Others actually mimic sword play. Another option is it set it on the floor while you do exotic floor work around it.

Learn the basics of sword dancing before you move on to the tips and tricks of the dance – as well as costuming requirements. We’ll look at those in the next post!

What do you like about sword dancing?

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