Sky Dancers

by Craig Huntley
(Baltimore, MD, USA)

Q:

Any idea on any tricks for making a sky dancer? Does the top need to be partially closed to make them dance, or is it better to make them straight and even diameter? Thanks.

A:

I remember seeing a large example of a 'sky dancer' or 'waver' at the local kite festival some years ago now. Didn't get a real close-up look at it, in terms of seeing construction details.

However, on looking at some photos, it would seem the ends of the tubes are closed. Not just sewn across, but with a fitted circular cap sewn around the tube opening. One for the head and one for each arm.

I would stick with even diameters for the tubes. Some companies are getting rather serious about the design and production of these, and it's all straight tubes! Perhaps tapered designs have been tried and rejected.

It would seem that a fair amount of air pressure is required to make the whole thing rigid enough to work. Some of the latest designs have small gaps in the end-caps which let some air through. Getting it just right for a new design might take a little experimentation!

The bottom of the sky dancer is fitted tightly over the rim of the blower, the idea being to make it air-tight. Typically, the tube is held in place with Velcro.

Light strong fabric is used, such as rip-stop nylon as used for kite sails. However some companies are using more specialized materials to get more life out of the waver.

From everything I've researched, my guess is that a home-made effort might work eventually, but would probably have a rather short life span. UV sun damage and the constant pressure and motion will stress the seams and eventually cause failure.

But having said all that, it would certainly be fun to try out the Air Dancer concept. And perhaps get some video of a successful prototype!

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