Dirty Dancing Danzon

Dirty Dancing Danzon

The fan makes danzon, a style of dance, unique.  Tango, salsa, tap, square dancing and alike don’t use a fan but when properly exhibited in danzon the fan enhances the elegance and femininity of the dancer.

The fan reached Spain via Islamic culture and when danzon started in Cuba in the late 1800s and quickly spread to the Yucatan, dancing with fans was not unusual.

With subtle manipulations of her fan, a woman communicated to a man her interest, her marital status and whether that status mattered much to her.  Before the days of texting a Danzon fan was the medium for communicating secret messages in a public venue.

For example, drawing the fan across the cheek meant ‘I love you’, while twirling it in the left hand signalized ‘We are watched’ and dropping indicated hatred.  You could be even more specific by inciting an affair and with the number of fan panels being shown at what time that dangerous liaison was to commence.

A more chaste lass touched the edge of the hand fan with her fingers to initiate a later conversation.  To slide a fan across the eyes signaled she wanted him out of her sight.  Tossing a fan to her lips, well, you can guess what that meant (kiss me).

The seductive language of the fan was invented over time to communicate in the open without necessarily being overt.   Though hardly foolproof as many men could read the dancer’s fan and felt she was chatting with him when perhaps her intentions were meant only for her partner!