When Did Bellydance Fan Veils Become a Thing?

Dancing with fans isn’t exactly a traditional part of Middle Easter dance. And if you’ve ever watched a vintage bellydance video, you didn’t see them their either. So when did it come about?

Dancing with fans has existed in other cultures for centuries. For instance, in China and Japan and spread to other Eastern Asian countries. There are various styles and in some cases it has expanded to include things like ribbon dancing. You can see how if you combine the two, it looks more like the fan veils used by bellydancers today.

After doing a bit of research we were able to find out that it is like a Mulan Fan. That is what our current style of bellydance fans are based upon. It is easy to see how it is a marriage of ribbons and fans. Most of the time, fans are used in traditional dances with various styles utilizing one thing more than another. For instance, some will use the opening and closing as a part of the dance. Or groups will use them to create scenes and describe an event. In Korean traditional fan dance, groups of dancers will use them to create patterns that can represent flowers, birds and other things found in nature.

But how did this use of fans end up in America, you may ask. The dancer Sally Rand is credited with this. She danced in a flesh toned outfit (bodysuit style) and performed with huge ostrich feather fans. Her style of conceal and reveal would be analogous to the burlesque styles that we see performed today.

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Bellydancers use all of these fans. You can see cabaret style dancers using the Mulan fan or fan veil as it is most commonly referred to. But you might also see fusion dancers use feather fans as well.

Here at danceled, we obviously love everything bellydance and wanted to figure out a way to amp up the trend. We know our customers love fan veils but could we light them up? And we have found that YES WE CAN! It took us a bit to marry wires and lights with a fabric that can handle them and still be able to move and flow like the fan veils that we all love to use.

We love finding new ways to light up your dance and we are so happy that we have found a way to light up this latest bellydance trend! What do you think of bellydance fan veils? Comment below and let us know!