What do you think can be attributed to the increase in the popularity of fans as a prop?
The increased amount of instructional and inspirational content that has come out in the last 4 years or so has been huge. When I first started spinning fans, there were only a handful of videos to choose from, and not many festivals to attend. Fan classes were few and far between so the learning process took a little longer. Now, the content available to new fan spinners is endless. Classes and festivals are abundant, and the instructors are more advanced. As each generation of fan spinners practice the moves of the last, new Ideas are born and new examples are created. The cycle continues!
Have you seen any change to the types of individuals who are becoming attracted to fans?
I see tons of overlap with single hoop, and mini hoops, double staff etc…. but I don’t think that is anything new. However, the number of male fan spinners has been on the rise. It seems like spinners interested in becoming a multi prop performer are taking fans more seriously. To quote my good friend and amazing fan spinner Mike “Doodle” Smith…. “If clubs are the alpha, then fans are the Omega” ….Meaning that they are all the props in one… with ten points of interest the options are vast and the lure of the prop increases.
How have the designs of fans changed over time to meet the diverse needs of fan spinners?
Fans have started to evolve to meet the spinners needs. Belly dance style fans have become more elaborate, and now have color options. Tech fans have gotten smaller, lighter, and stronger. Techniques have advanced thanks in part to all of the amazing fan spinners. Their feedback helps, and fan makers are developing products that are perfect for whatever style of spinning you wish to achieve.
What do you think is something important individuals who are interested in getting into fans should know?
We think one should choose fans based on the style of spinning they’d like to accomplish. So, if you have a favorite spinner..find out what they spin. Do some research, find out what other spinners think. Try to make it to festivals or local spin jams and try a few out.
Where do you see the future of fans going?
We hope that fans will become as popular as other props. We see fans leaning hard towards a more VTG based style, meshing with the more traditional uses for belly dancing and similar dance based styles. Multi fan manipulation is catching on with the recent availability of HDPE practice fans. Tosses are becoming more popular with fire fans because they are more durable… Things look good for fans, we plan to introduce some new Ideas soon…new ideas are what really shape the future.