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  • Lisa Lumina

Level Two: 1.5 Nai, Arghul, and Fan Veil

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

Class Review

This week, we continued working on phrasing without call and response to draw attention to it. Phrasing can help you with transitions and avoiding over-dancing. While some phrases are like compound sentences, and call for a movement combo to fit them, simpler phrases are served by waiting for the next sentence before changing sides/direction/movement. Often, the music will

call for sticking with a movement or theme until the entire paragraph, that is, musical section,

changes. We'll start on sections next week, but for now, keep practicing working through the "boring point" and letting the music tell you when to switch things up. And, as always, remember these "are more guidelines than actual rules."


Instrument of the Week

We worked on nai (aka ney) takeem. It is part of the nafkh (blown instruments) family, with a lovely sustained sound. Nai Taxeems are also popular in Sufi religious music.

We also learned about the argul, which is double reed in the sense that it is two reed-grasses lashed together. One plays a drone note, and one acts like a regular flute.


Prop of the Week

Fan veils come from Asian dance, they were added into bellydance in the late 90s/2000s and the best dances usually have some grounding in the source material. Other inspirations include flamenco fans and burlesque. Here is an article from Princess Farhana about fans in bellydance, and some more information on the source dances.

​I know very little about the various Asian dances the silk fans come from, but I've included a few videos of different fan dances for a baseline to compare how they appear in bellydance performances to. I cannot comment on how they measure up to their own style's standards, but I like them.

A Chinese silk-fan dance

Fans used in flamenco

burlesque ostrich fans (NSFW)


Now, onto a bellydance context!

They can be used in the same context of a regular veil

Or in a more lively way

And are popular for flashy group numbers.

My favorite fan veil performances are in the Teel Fan method, crafted by Victoria Teel and the fans made by Silkdancer, with a wider fan and rounded edge, including the super-fan (the 3rd one here:)


​Fusion fans can sometimes use fire, esp at counter culture events like burning man.

fans fusions can also be focused on other source dances

​and fans aren't the only thing veils get added to. (poi are originally Maori)


Song of the Week

Fi Yom w Leila is this week's song. Here is a playlist of different versions, and the translation. This is a song from Warda, another great woman of Arabic music, although a later generation than Om Kalthoom, whom we talked about last week.

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