How to make a simple steampunk gun for an awesome dance!

Some lovely friends of mine run a steampunk festival in Dorrigo, NSW. Previously I have performed at it and this year I brought a few other dancers to join me. Despite battling nasty coughs, we all had a marvellous time doing some fusion dance pieces. We steampunked our costumes a bit (this year had a gypsy theme) and decided to add a steampunk touch to a shaabi dance with some guns worn on our thighs… we then did a bit of a Charlie’s Angels thing. It got some giggles 😉

Anyway, it was a new years resolution of mine to get better at using video. I am still a way off yet but here is my first attempt at a ‘how to’ video. It is instructions on a super easy steampunk for a cap gun to make something suitable for a dance performance. I had to make 4 guns and (surprisingly) for such a simple concept there was a bit of trial and error before I got a good effect, so I thought I would share the knowledge to save anyone else doing the same thing some time.

4 dancers at steampunked gypsy night

Before performance pose 😉 photo by Evonne Clough

The main learning points were:-

  • Make sure your metallic paint is metallic !!
  • Undercoat in an opaque light colour before using silver and gold acrylic (could be white, cream, or whatever you have handy).
  • I made some fake cogs to save money and show you how to do it in the video.
  • Beware of modern watches!
  • Superglue is not strong enough for cap guns but I found something that works.

If you found the video useful, please like and share.

Have you ever made a how to video? Or maybe danced for a steampunk event? Please tell me about it below.

Photo Challenge: Between

Why have my posts been a little infrequent of late?

Because I have been doing a bit of globe trotting and belly dance training.

Just to prove the point…

Here is a snap shot of me BETWEEN the great pyramids of Giza.

Egypt is such a great place, sigh….

Bellydancer Giza Egypt

On a more serious note here is a little snap shot from a  bit earlier in the year. The quality of the image is not great (we were focussed on the quality of our performances instead). But what the image represents to me is poignant. The woman in the picture that is not in costume is the lovely Rachel. She was one of my most enthusiastic dancers for several years. Work issues came up and she took a break for a while, only to find out that cancer had decided to revisit her. Basically she found herself BETWEEN arock and a hard place. She wanted to try some other therapies and so her friends had a fund raiser for her. Women from my class that had danced with her, got together and entertained the guests. It was a beautiful day.

For Rachel to have been surrounded by all her friends in such a challenging moment of her life was wonderful.

Bellydancers rally to help cancer patient

World Belly Dance Day Bellingen Australia 2013

Jade Belly Dance was again proud to be involved in World Belly Dance Day activities for the 5th year in a row! world belly dance dayFor those of you that are not in the Belly Dance scene or are yet to hear about it, World Bellydance Day is an event started in 2008 by the lovely Lydia Tzigane (Dubai) to promote “the idea that belly dance is an ART form, a cultural event, a sport, and a social and family entertainment.”, “Our task is to show how nice it can be, that it is a lovely dance not necessarily done only in nightclubs or restaurants. It is an art form that brings lots of people together, of different ages, nationalities, countries, backgrounds, religions.” It is always the second Saturday in May and all money raised from events is to go to charity.



When I stumbled across the World Belly Dance Day website back in 2008, I just knew it was something I had to be a part of. I went to the other dance teachers I worked with and the first World Belly Dance Day Bellingen was born! Since then the organising has been taken over by Shekhinah but my dancers are always happy to join in.

We have been blessed with outstanding weather for the last 4 years and it has been a predominately outdoor event working in with the local produce market. Last year it was so hot (despite being late autumn) that I actually got a sunburnt belly!

vicki tracey vicki

Photo by Vicki Carroll

This year it couldn’t have been more different. It was cold and rainy and we huddled under the grandstands trying to stay dry. The parade got replaced with a mini jam inside the nearby Hall. The performances all went off without a hitch though and a good time was had by all despite the last minute relocation.

Children Khaleegy dance

The gorgeous Khaleegy dresses. Thank you Lydia and World Belly Dance Day. Photo courtesy of Raqs Reflections

Some of the girls from my Bellingen kid’s class got to perform their Khaleegy dance wearing the costumes that they won from last year’s World Belly Dance Day. The photo of the finale of their dance to Abl Ma Anam won them best group photo and a set of child sized Khaleegy robes.

Thank you again Lydia! They are all so proud of themselves.

Some of my senior girls from Dorrigo danced a Tajik piece and the lovely Lyn performed her comedy solo – a piece that starts off as a very old school classical Egyptian piece and somehow ends up as Gangnam Style!

Belly dance Tajikistani

Tajik inspired dance number!

Much to my delight, last year’s bellynesian piece generated so much enthusiasm that we did it again – but this time with more students and fancier costumes. The costumes were thanks in part by the work of the wonderful Joanne Ware that made 12 modified grass skirts while suffering pleurisy. Jo we love you! We were asked by many audience members to do a longer piece so rest assured we have a much bigger bellynesian piece in the making (this time to live music!!).

Polynesian / belly dance fusion

Original photograph courtesy of Solveig Larson

As always when you perform at these events you inevitably miss the opportunity to watch many dances (while changing costumes etc). I loved all the dancing and enjoy watching anyone that gets up and has a go. Of the dancing I saw there were some great pieces performed by members of different schools, 3 were particularly memorable for me – including Houda’s Arabesque Belles who performed for the first time ever!!!!! Yep, they are a non performance based class but they decided to dance this year and were sensational to a live version of Lamma Bada.  All in white with well timed sufi twirling, simply hypnotic.

Saidii cane dance belly dance

Susan in full flight!! Awesome stick dance. Photograph courtesy of Raqs Reflections

Susan’s stick solo – OMG! I tried so hard to get a good shot of her but she was moving so much the camera couldn’t focus on her. Thankfully I have gotten permission to use photos by Raqs Reflection to illustrate this comment. Talk about being in the zone. I have known this women for 10 years or so and always thought she was a lovely dancer but this was the best I have ever seen her dance – actually I would say that she was the stand out dancer of the day. So much energy and joy.

My third pick of the day was the bollywood fusion number by Ruth Maitland’s Awalim class. I have also known these ladies for well over a decade and danced with them many times. Their piece was not strictly belly dance but so colourful and so much fun it was my favourite piece I have ever seen them dance. Truely  inspired choreography.

bollywood belly dance

Ruth’s Awalim class performing a bollywood number. Photograph courtesy of Solveig Larson

A big thank you to all the people that made World Belly Dance Day Bellingen possible – the schools, teachers, organisers, videographers, photographers, parents, partners, children and audience. Also, G’Day and thank you to all the beautiful people that joined in with events around the world. I can’t wait to read about your performances, so don’t forget to send Lydia your reviews. Without all of you there would be no World Bellydance Day.

Finally I have to thank my glorious dancers for all they give to me. You are such a wonderful caring group. I am honoured to know you all. You will always be my ultimate favourites. I have loved watching each one of you grow and develop in this wonderful dance form.

Love to you all,

Jade Belly Dance

Me! Photo by Vicki Carroll


Please email me at if you have any photos or video of World Belly Dance 2013 in Bellingen. I would love to see them. Did you participate in World Belly dance Day? Please comment below.

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