This page is mainly dealing with the American Fan dance (Burlesque type) but has some Oriental Fan dance info as well.
In America, the Fan dance was made popular in the 1930s by Sally Rand. Miss Rand was hired at the Chicago's Century of Progress Exposition in 1933 and saved the fair financially with her fan dance routine. There was also a federation called the 'Western Federation of Fan Dancers' and the 'United Fan, Bubble and Specialty Dancers'. These federations held a convention in San Diego, Ca. on 4/23/1936.
Miss Faith Bacon is credited as creating the Fan dance however it is traced back ten years prior to Faiths birth but this particular style may be credited to her as she did do it long before Sally Rand. The American Burlesque term 'fan' describes the movements of the huge Ostrich plumes or feathers that the dancer would use in an artistic manner (see pics or clips). This dance was generally but not always done nude (or used a body stocking) and would be considered Burlesque dancing in style.
The Beautiful Oriental fan dances used a hand fan, which is used in the folding unfolding, twirling etc of the Fan and can be solo or group. The Japanese Fan Dance (non Burlesque), interpreted by young girls with various movements, figures, and poses, is one of many favourite Japanese dances.
Men seldom dance in Japan except to show off some chorographic agility usually inspired by the saki fumes; but they take a part in the circular dances which belong to the family banquets, and which are as diversified as they are ancient. The Korean Fan Dance dates back to the Choson Dynasty (1392-1910 AD) the majority of the dancers portray flowers, gracefully swaying and turning in the wind. There are other Fan dances as well.