Not for Cinderella:
by Tasha Banat
on glasses is not to be taken so lightly as what
I have read online by some—whose credibility I question! I
am not saying that I am right and everyone else is wrong,
or that I am the end all to end all when it comes to dancing
on glasses; however, I have seen some articles where advice has
been given that is not only stupid, but dangerous.
to simplify dancing with certain props like swords and
fire—and believe me—those of you who read and responded to
my "Dumb and Restless" series in the past know
all too well the price I paid for taking certain props (including
snakes) too lightly. Working with special
props is serious stuff and dancing on glasses for more
than 40 years gives me a bit of a sharp edge on the subject;
so, please read my article and then do what you think
is right for your feet.
Glass Dance: What is it all about, and why do it?
There are probably a dozen or more dancers who have attempted
and succeeded with dancing on glasses, but no one has performed
this longer and more successfully than I; therefore, I am convinced
that, after 40 plus years of performing the Glass Dance,
I know more about what to look for in glass than just about anyone
else in the Belly dance world today!
I am bringing this up is because I have been reading some recent
articles I have come across. They are good articles, and although
I admire the dancers who have perfected the glass dance for
themselves, there was not much discussion of what to look for
in the glass
itself, such as stress points. Therefore, I thought I would
put my experience on line and share some important points about
glass and about dancing on it.
dance on glass without a carpet under that glass or
a safe prop—no matter what surface it is on which
you are performing!
are 2 extremely practical reasons for this rule:
the glass breaks on any other surface, floor, tray, wood,
or anything else, it will shatter and probably leave a shard
of glass that is almost guaranteed by Murphy’s Law to cut
the foot of the next dancer who performs on that stage, especially if
she performs barefoot. Dancers have enough accidents from
glass beads, pieces of whatever, etc. without adding to the
damage someone could encounter if your glass breaks and the
pieces are not on a carpet to be carried away safely. If
a glass breaks on a carpet, it breaks--but does not shatter. Without
that soft barrier between the glass and the floor, the glass
dancer has not only endangered herself, but the next dancer
me to the second point:
provides a cushion between your feet and the floor beneath
you. That cushion is called “give”. Most
surfaces I have danced on that are not carpeted (usually
nightclub stages) have surfaces that have no “give”. Believe
me; if you go home with sore feet after a lot of shows in
the same club, it is most likely that you are dancing on
something that is thin with concrete under it. The most
common stages I have encountered are actually made of concrete,
lurking under some type of thin, cheap linoleum, or laminate
talk about the glass itself: There are many types of glass
out there. Some performers use bell-shaped drinking glasses. Some
use goblets (the most common) because they are sturdy. I use
stemmed water glasses, and I believe there are a few dancers
out there who use various bar glasses.
above are the most common type of glass to dance on. They
all have one thing in common: If you turn them upside down
as in my picture, they are all wider at the bottom, which is
imperative if you are going to dance on them.
simply a law of physics. However, if you were as bad at math
as I was, I will give you examples of glasses upon which you
should not dance.
the glasses above is not great candidates for obvious
reasons. All of them either turn inward at the bottom when
you turn theme upside down, or they are straight up and down—which
may work for a while, but need to explain the “Brittle” factor.
As it ages,
all glass loses it liquidity over the years and becomes brittle,
increasing its chances of breaking. You must know the history
of your glass: What type of glass is used? How much lead is
truth that you may not have considered: Glass expands when
heated and contracts when cold. Therefore, a big question
you must ask yourself is how often have those glasses been
processed in a dishwasher?
alone made it very difficult to use glasses from those clubs
in which I danced. I could never trust how often the glass
had expanded and contracted causing the “Brittle” effect. Brittle
glass, like old bones, breaks!
new glasses whenever possible, and never put them in the
let me see if I can explain stress points in glass. My
favorite stemmed water glass- is shown at right-
most common stress points are at the point at which
the stem meets the two round parts of the glass.
If you hold
the glass up to light, then you will see small bubbles in the
glass or actual splits. Those are stress points.
the glass, the larger those stress points become. My recommendation
for keeping your glasses safe between your performances is
to take those heavy long socks (like baseball or athletic socks)
and tuck the glasses in them when you are not using them.
dangerous time for glass breakage is climbing on or off them
or forgetting that they are not only a prop, but a test of
balance and concentration as well.
who have not cut their feet, or have not fallen off the glasses
(yet) have time and statistics working against them; therefore,
never become so sure of your set of glasses that you forget
that they are dangerous when used in this manner and have the
ability to cut you badly. Also watch out for the rim (bottom)
because it, too, can be sharp and have a sliver missing. That
will make your feet bleed, and please believe me: a dancer’s
blood on her costume is not pretty!
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