On the "history of props" front, this week it's wings! There's an element of imitating ancient Egyptian temple art, and the real start of wings by Loie Fuller. An American dancer (I think it was Ayshe) brought them into bellydance, and they've spread from there. There is also a connection with Christian liturgical dancing, however as best I can tell this might be a convergent evolution situation. They can be the traditional pleated design or smooth silk. and they can be used in theatrical pieces:
or in more traditional numbers
but they're always flashy!
One tricky thing, is wings magnify posture issues. These students do a great job
oh, and they can light up now!
Wings are pretty popular with the general pubic, but tricky to use in a small space
Here's another of the silk-type versions.
One of my favorite wings performances is on this DVD. The other top favorite of mine is on By Dancers For Dancers Vol 2, and is by Sadiyya (it appears to be out of print).
In Egypt, they aren't used often, but sometimes can show up in entrances, used the same way Egyptians use veils. Here's Brazillian born Asmahan, performing in Egypt. She's famous for her lavish entrances. Both of these look like they're on the Nile cruise boats.