So, I have quite a few veil DVDs, some of which I also need to review, and I thought the next few months would be a great time to do so. My torso and belly might not be as flexible, but I can still use my arms, right? The thing is, I’ve done very little (like, really, really little) in-class veil work, and even that was years ago and rather randomly taught. And this week, when I was working with Jennifer Jimenez’ “Lets Dance Together – Prenatal Dance Fitness” (review coming soon) and got to the scarf/veilwork section, I went to find the piece of chiffon I’ve had lying around for years and — could not for the life of me find it. I found practice zills, hip scarves, poi, all kinds of little props I have hanging around, but no chiffon! I realised the awful truth — I badly needed a veil.
But what kind? It turns out that bellydance videos have varying amount of information on choosing a veil. Veil with Aziza and Kaeshi Chai’s Expressive Bellydance Veil both go over the basics, silk and chiffon, and Kaeshi also shows how to steam iron your veils to keep them looking fresh. There’s a small section on choosing veils in Sarah Skinner’s Seven Veils, but the really long introductions are in Skinner’s Bellydance with Veil and Shoshanna’s Fabulous Four Yard Veils. Skinner’s intro is more of a show-and-tell — you can tell that she’s really in love with her veils! — and she focuses quite a bit on the makeup of the fabric and the look, weight, and hemming of the veil, going through varieties of chiffon and even more unusual fabrics. Shoshanna doesn’t deal with quite as many kinds of fabrics, but she gives more examples of how particular veils might work in dance, what moves she likes to do with what kinds of veils, and also which veil fabrics are too heavy and might cause injury!
Other resources I like are Dina Lydia’s article, “Making a Veil,” and Zorba’s “So Many Veils, So Little Time!” In the end I went to Little Egypt, a store and bellydance school here in Dallas, and picked up a couple of silk veils at their sale that were pretty much cheaper than on eBay! (And a little practice cane… because I’m bad.) I’d still like to get to a fabric store nearby and see what kinds of chiffon are out there, and if I can make a really sturdy — or at least disposable — practice veil out of some on-sale fabric, but for now I’m ready to go!