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In the West, a fan dance (i.e. a dance performed with one or more fans), may be an erotic dance performance, traditionally by a woman, but not exclusively. It can be as form of musical interpretation. The performer, sometimes entirely nude or apparently so, dances while manipulating two large fans, constructed from many materials including ostrich feathers and organza.
In the 1970's gay men removed the solid pin at the center of the fan and replaced it with knotted string allowing for a fluid curvaceous movement. This disco art has been seen in San Francisco's Trocadero, New York's Roseland Ballroom as well as numerous circuit parties from Cleveland's Red Party to the White and Winter Parties of Miami and London's Red Heart's Ball. More difficult to construct (and manipulate) than the flags commonly used today, there are but a handful of artists, male and female, who occasionally exhibit this style of dance. The 2016 Dance on the Pier was one such occasion.
In the UK, the fan dance has been used in the finals of the Miss Nude UK 2000 competition and in The Windmill in Soho where it replaced the tradition of nude tableaux and has since been replaced by table dancing.
In an episode of the Australian TV series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries set in the 1930s the protagonist, private detective Phryne Fisher, goes undercover as a fan dancer in a gentleman's club (Series 2, Episode 1 "Murder Most Scandalous").
- Faith Bacon, who performed fan dances in the 1920s
- Sally Rand, who popularized fan dance in the 1930s
- Flagging dance
- "Here's What You Missed at NYC Pride's Dance On The Pier". Spin. 2016-06-28. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
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