I started out dancing being afraid to use a cane. I’ve seen and heard the horror stories of hitting audience members, having the cane fly out of your hand and off to who knows where. Actually, that last one happened to me at a summer gig outside and it ended up in the pool. Lucky for me the audience laughed it off. But back to the topic, over the years I have learned a few tips and tricks that have really helped me when performing with cane- whether it’s one or two at a time- and I wanted to share what I’ve learned with all of you! So here are my tips and tricks for dancing with a bellydance cane.
1. Pick the right cane. Not all canes are created equal. Some are sequined, some are wrapped in silver or gold, some have lights in them. The most important thing is to pick a cane that is the right width and height for you. The width of the cane should fit comfortably between your thumb and index finger for twirling. It should also be the right height. If you place the cane down at your side, do you have to lean to put your hand on top of it? The right height will allow you to easily place your hand atop the cane. It took me a while to find a few that work for my height with heels but they do exist!
2. Practice. This I cannot say enough. You need to practice with your cane and be comfortable with it. You should be able to move it around without having to look at it every time. If you decide that you want to add tosses and catches to a performance, practice them until you can do it almost blindfolded. Something may still go awry at a show but it’s better to do all that you can ahead of time. You also don’t want to toss your cane and then make a face or shrink from it. Trust me, that will be the moment that is immortalized in photos. Every. Time.
3. Take measures to minimize slipping. Some sequined canes have an area without sequins at the bottom portion that is felted that makes it easy to grip and less likely to slip. You can add a layer of sticky felt to the bottom of your cane yourself. You can also spray hairspray on your hand or cane to get that sticky affect. Depending on the type of cane, you can also take some light sandpaper to it in order to give it some edging and grip. In hot weather, I spray deodorant on my hands to keep them from getting too sweaty so my cane doesn’t slip. With the canes that are wrapped in metallic colors, this is especially useful!
4. Have fun! A cane is meant to be used as a fun prop! Whether you are using it for saidi, lebanese, you name it, it’s made to call attention and be dynamic! Watch videos, try out tricks and moves!
I hope you have enjoyed these tips and tricks for dancing with a bellydance cane. If you have those of your own to add, please do so! Or heck, feel free to share your favorite cane videos! I am sure we would all love to see them!