Easy Ways to Set Up a Shadow Dance Bar

By Farrah Davis ; Updated September 15, 2017
Make a shadow dance bar for your home party.

Shadow dancing is a fun and unique type of dancing. Shadow dancing is created by placing a screen with a light source shown in the direction of the dancer (behind the screen). The audience, on the other side of the screen, only sees the silhouette of the person dancing, creating a sensual and exotic type of dance that spices up any home party or nightclub. The way to set up a shadow dance bar depends on how much space you have and your budget.

Simple White Sheet Option

This is the easiest and cheapest option, with enough space to suspend or set up your sheet. Choose a 100 percent cotton sheet, as some thicker materials do not permit light to shine through as well as the cotton. If your space has rafters or beams, it is easier to hang the sheet and put something on the bottom for weight, such as a broom handle. If you cannot hang the sheet, purchase two microphone boom stands and place them and the end of the sheet to pull it tight. These stands are inexpensive and can be found at most musical supply stores.

Custom DIY Setup

To make your custom-sized shadow dance bar, first measure your space. After you get your dimensions, buy your fabric. Buy a little more than the size you want, to allow room to attach the fabric to the frame. For larger-size fabrics, check out curtain backing. This material comes in large rolls and can be cut to any size. Buy lumber to make your frame, as straight as possible. Cut wood to proper lengths and attach them to make the frame with wood glue and a nail gun. Once the frame is built, lie it on the floor and place the fabric on top; pull snug to the edges. Attach the fabric with a staple gun and set the frame in place. Put a light behind it and grab your dancer to start the show.

Professional Rear Projection Screens

You can also use professional projection screens, which come in several different sizes. Most come with portable metal frames that are lightweight and easy to transport. It takes more than one person to set up these types of screens for use, but there are many other benefits. These screens are more durable than homemade screens, which allow the dancer to get close to the screen and rub against it. This makes the dancing more animated and sensual.

Lighting Setup

Your lighting setup should be free of loose cables and high heat. Light should be placed approximately 6 feet behind the dancer, around mid-torso height to spread the light evenly. Use only one light source to create one uniform shadow. You can use a simple desk lamp, utility lights, or strobe lights.

About the Author

Farrah Davis began her writing career in 2010. She has worked for Harley Ellis Deveraux and Green Dinosaur as an environmental consultant project manager, writing environmental plans for commercial projects. She graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science in interior architecture and a focus on environmental studies.