5 Important Details You Need to Know for Selecting a Belly Dance Sword

on Mon, 14 Nov, 2016

I own two swords. My first sword was free; I noticed it in a lost and found bin and coveted it for months. When I asked the manager of the dance studio if I could have it, she said if no one claimed it within a certain amount of time I could. I probably waited for another month. No one claimed it, so I got it. I loved this sword, I reupholstered the sheath. I used my mom’s Brasso to make it shiny. But then there were problems with it and I didn’t know what to do to make “my precious” better.

Below are some things I learned in the process of fixing up one sword and purchasing another.

1. Don’t use a battle ready sword.

This is the most important detail, so I am listing it first. Basically this means you shouldn’t buy a sword that is sharp. Even the “dull” swords you buy online are going to have a point. Don’t I know it from stabbing my couch accidentally while practicing! And my leg. And that time I dropped it on my foot. Accidents happen. Don’t buy something meant to cut watermelon because you might end up cutting others or your dog while practicing, or someone’s child when performing in a crowded restaurant.

2. Balance is key.

If you intend to do any balancing with your sword, on your head, chin, hip, chest, etc. it needs to be balanced. That means it has a place you can find somewhere in the center where you can rest it on a surface and it won’t fall over.

3. Can you handle this?

My first sword was balanced for a short time. However, I noticed the handle was on backward so it was awkward to hold. I looked at pictures of swords and realized the part that shields your hand on the pommel needs to be on the far side of you so that if your opponent was going to cut you down, you would have that metal guard as protection.  It seems like a pretty simple concept. So I turned the handle around. That’s when things went downhill. The sword then became unbalanced. I changed it back, but the balance was gone. Some swords are not built as well as others, so be aware of the position of the handle when selecting a sword.

4. Aesthetics and Style

If you are dancing Middle Eastern style belly dance it makes sense that you would want a scimitar or middle Eastern style sword. If you are dancing at a Renaissance fair or are doing a cosplay of a Japanese character, it might make more sense to dance use a sword from one of those cultures. There are a variety of swords out there on websites and it would be a shame to order something that is pretty, but not functional for dance, so I would weigh the other details like balance and the handle first, but that’s just me.

5. Size and Weight

I am one of the wee folk. Seriously, I’m five foot. I do not need a five-pound sword. It doesn’t sound like a lot of weight, but when you have been dancing for five minutes already and are swinging that thing around, your muscles fatigue, and it is hard to hold up. Accidents can happen when someone is swinging a semi-sharp sword around in their sweaty, tired hands. Heh, I know this so well. Fortunately, my muscle fatigue disasters have happened more at home with my couch, leg or floor as the victim than onstage.

I used my first sword for five years before I purchases a balanced scimitar. I selected the lightest weight and I was really happy with it. After I was in a car accident and suffered a neck injury I had to put the sword away for a while. I started using the veil and fans more because they were lighter. I now specialize in fans and fan veil. When I use sword it is typically in for solos since they are expensive and not all of my students have them. I have taught sword workshops in the past and teach private lessons.

sword and sheath

For more info about classes visit the page below. For inquiries about private lessons using a sword, please use my contact form.


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