Posted by Princess Farhana on 5/2/2014
to Props & Fun Stuff
There’s nothing that says “belly dance” more than finger cymbals! They are something that’s traditional and unique to our art form. Though finger cymbals, also known as zills, aren’t required, if you can really rock out on them, they add a lot to a performance.
Purchase a set of good quality finger cymbals that will be easy for you to handle. A couple of the cymbal brands most loved by professional dancers are Turquoise International and Saroyan finger cymbals, both of which are sold right here on Bellydance.com. For beginners, it might be better to get a smaller, lighter set of cymbals until you build up your strength and co-ordination, though starting with larger cymbals is fine. No matter what the size, your zills will always seem awkward at first!
Selecting the finger cymbals that are right for you doesn’t need to be a difficult process. What’s most important is that you can get a nice tone from them - and that differs according to the metal alloy (usually brass or bronze) of the cymbal, the circumference of the cymbal and the depth of the rounded dome that rises up from the rim. It’s also a matter of personal taste! If you aren’t sure what type of cymbals to get, ask your teacher what she recommends. Also, many dancers - even students - have several sets of cymbals that they use for different occasions… so don’t think you’re going to stop at just one set! Because you can find good quality belly dancing finger cymbals for sale that are inexpensive, your first set of cymbals will probably not be your last!
Finger Cymbal Care
Your cymbals can be cleaned with a soft cloth and ordinary brass or metal polish. Many dancers prefer bright shiny cymbals, others prefer them with a patina or a slight amount of tarnish, for a vintage look; but these are only cosmetic considerations, because they’ll sound the same either way.
To protect your cymbals zill set and keep the set of four all four of them together, carry them in their own little bag. There are many styles to choose from here on Bellydance.com, including snazzy ones made from antique Indian sari fabric.
Getting Your Finger Cymbals Ready to Play
Some cymbals come with a length of elastic, but if it isn’t supplied, you’ll have to buy it. Look for sturdy elastic braid about three quarters of an inch wide for the type with two slots. Next, you’ll need to sew the elastic on to fit your fingers. Cut four lengths of elastic about three inches long and thread the elastic through the underside of the cymbals. Measure the elastic to fit your finger snugly, turn the raw edge of the elastic over to prevent fraying, and hand-sew the elastic pieces together.
About the author
Internationally acclaimed dancer Princess Farhana has been performing, teaching and writing about belly dance since 1990. Her new book, “The Belly Dance Handbook” and many of her instructional DVDs are available right here on Bellydance.com.