Props are not easy. There is a reason that they aren’t introduced until you’ve got a few moves under your belt. One prop that looks really easy but has some surprising twists, is the Isis wing. They come in all shapes and sizes these days and it does matter which you choose and for what purpose. I wanted to help those out who might be looking to start their foray into the world of dancing with wings with some of my tips and tricks for bellydancing with wings.
Size matters. Wings actually come in different sizes. If you are a shorter dancer, you might want to see if they have the wings in a smaller size for your height. Not saying that you can’t handle a large wing but if you can have it done, why not? From what I have heard from others, it makes a world of difference.
Pleats matter. Whether the pleats are large or small will make a difference in the movement of the wings. It also helps to keep it pleated for storage. Test them out ahead of time and see if you prefer the movement of a small or large one.
Wingspan matters. Now this is different than the size I mentioned before. This would be the circular measurement of the wings. This takes the length of your arms into account. They might be the right length radially for your height but if you can’t extend them, that doesn’t help your movements either
Light them up! The latest trend is to add LED lights to your wings. Contrary to what some might believe, the lights are not inside of the fabric. The wiring is clear but it runs the inner length of the wings and everywhere else, depending on the number and pattern. this will change the way your wings move, it will also be good to keep in mind that these wires can catch on things as you move around. Not saying they are super loose but they do have give.
Sticks. Not all are created equal. There are metal ones, wooden, adjustable, not adjustable. I endeavor to not store my wings with the sticks. it’s not as much of an issue if you store them in the pouches they come in, but if you hang them, then the weight of the stick can push through the fabric and create a hole. I have metal adjustable ones and they are nice to add weight to movements. However if I am going for a lighter touch or flutters in a piece, wooden ones are the best. You can get whatever width and length you want and most hardware stores and they are super cheap!
Wing care. Contrary to belief you do actually have to take care of your wings. Cramming them into a carry pouch is not the way to go. Depending on the fabric, they can loose their pleats and that will change the look and the way they move. When at all possible, fold them on their pleats as best as you can and place them in a carry on or a container of some kind. Also, remove the sticks. Whether you want to put them into a case, a box or hang them, you need to remove the sticks to keep the fabric safe. if your wings are LED, unplug the battery and/or turn them off. You never know when a battery is going to go up or stay hot if you leave it in. The battery can cause issues. it can also go dead a lot faster.
Transporting. I tend to keep the pouches that the wings come in for transporting them. I even had one where the zipper broke and i fixed it to keep going! I put the pouch in my rolling gig bag and just have the top sticking out. If you’re traveling with your wings this may not be ideal. The best way is to fold the pleats up and use rubber bands to keep them together. Then fold those into an almost circle shape. You can put that into your suitcase such that it stays in a circle or if you have a larger rubber band, put it around the whole thing. Either pack your sticks separately- this is one instance where the adjustable ones come in handy because you can make them super small. OR buy new wooden ones when you arrive.
I hope that my tips and tricks for bellydancing with wings have helped you! If you have some of your own to share please do so in the comments below. I am always on the look out for new ways to do things.