IDEAS FOR DANCE INSTRUMENTS AND THEIR USE


PRAISE STREAMERS

You Will Need:

  • ½” Diameter dowel rod Praise Streamer

  • ¼” Diameter dowel rod

  • Fabric - stiff, crisp fabrics, like taffeta work well

  • Wire brad flathead (not finishing) nails

  • Snap swivels (fishing gear) - number 12 size works well

  • Fishing line - 12 pound test or larger

  • Scissors

  • Measuring tape

  • Sewing machine

  • Serger sewing machine (optional)

  • Needle and thread

  • Wire cutters

  • Hammer

  • Coarse sandpaper, or flat file

  • Small saw

You need to start by determining the length of streamer you want to make. The longer streamers tend to look nicer. However, they are much harder to use. For a novice, a shorter streamer is a good place to start, with the possibility of making a longer one later.

For small children, a streamer of three to four feet long is good. Older children can use them about six to eight feet long, and adults can manage streamers 12 to 16 feet long with practice.

Making Your Streamer:

1. Cut your fabric to the size you are planning to make your streamer. For width, you can use anywhere from four to six inches wide. However, we prefer them six inches wide.

Sewing Streamer

2. Using a serger, configured to make rolled hems, hem all edges of the fabric. You don’t want to cut off much of the fabric in the process of hemming. If you don’t have a serger, you can do a normal, narrow hem on all edges of the fabric. (This will tend to make the streamer stiffer and heavier. Therefore, it may have more of a tendency to droop down during use.)

3. At one end of your hemmed streamer, sew a ½” casing, like you would for a curtain rod.

4. Cut the ½” diameter dowel rod to make your handle. One dowel rod can make two handles, each 18 inches long. Sand the ends of the dowel rod to eliminate the sharp edges.

Snap Swivel Modification

5. Cut the snap off of the snap swivel as shown in the diagram.

6. Nail the snap swivel to one end of the dowel rod. For best movement of your streamer, make sure the nail goes into the exact center of the dowel rod. Do not hammer nail down tight, but leave it sticking out about 1/8 inch, so that the swivel can turn freely on it.

7. Cut a piece of the ¼” dowel rod that is ½” shorter than the width of your streamer. It is best to measure at the casing, as the streamer may vary in width due to sewing. Sand the ends of the dowel rod to eliminate the sharp edges.

Attaching Streamer to Handle

8. Thread the fishing line through the casing on the end of your streamer. This can be accomplished easily, if you push it through with a piece of ¼” dowel rod. Continue by threading the end of the fishing line through the free end of the swivel. Tie the ends of the fishing line together to make a loop. Note: Fishing line does not tie well, so be sure to do several knots in the end.

9. Move the knot in the fishing line so that it is hidden in the casing. Insert your short piece of ¼” dowel rod into the casing. Sew both ends of the casing shut so that the dowel rod cannot fall out.

Alternate Construction:

Instead of a strip of fabric, you can use a wide piece of stiff ribbon. Sewing Alternate Streamer Construction

1. Prepare your handle the same as in steps 4 - 6 above.

2. Cut your ribbon to length. Make sure the ends will not fray. You can hem the ends, or use “fray check” on them to prevent fraying.

3. Fold one end of the ribbon as shown in the diagram. Sew, or glue the folds so that they will stay.

4. Thread the fishing line through the end of the ribbon, as shown in the diagram. Continue by threading the end of the fishing line through the free end of the swivel. Tie the ends of the fishing line together to make a loop. Note: Fishing line does not tie well, so be sure to do several knots in the end.

Using Streamers

Streamers are usually used individually. They can be held in either hand. However, most people find it easiest to use the streamer in the hand that they write with. There are only a few basic moves that can be done with the streamer
:

  • Circle - The circle is the most basic move. A circle is just what it sounds like, moving the handle of the streamer around in a circle. It can be done overhead, in front of your body, or to the side of the body.

  • Figure Eight - The figure eight consists of two circles together. As you complete the first circle, you move immediately into the second. If, for example, the first circle is clockwise, then the second would be counterclockwise. Again, this can be done overhead, or in front of your body.

  • Wave - A wave consists of moving the streamer back and forth rapidly overhead, in front of you. This is usually only done overhead, as doing it in front of you will cause the streamer to just drag on the ground, and will not look as good.

  • Weave - A weave is a continuing “S” motion in front of your body. You would start on one side, usually the side away from the hand holding the streamer, then move the streamer across your body, waving the handle up and down.

  • Toss - To toss the streamer, make a large circle in front of your body. As your hand comes back up to the vertical, increase speed, and release the handle of the streamer when it is just above your head. We have to warn you though, this one takes a lot of practice.

The key to using a streamer effectively is to make large , smooth movements. With large movements, the streamer will make a smooth, clear loop, following the stick. When most people start using streamers, they tend to make small, jerky movements. This will cause the streamer to end up getting tangled, or wrapped around the dancer’s arm.

If you want a real challenge, try using two streamers at once. Although this is difficult, on a fast song, it can be rather spectacular.

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Copyright © 1998 by Richard A. Murphy,  Maranatha Life  All rights reserved.