Saturday, January 15, 2005

How To Make A Belly Dance Costume

And What Does This Have To Do With Knitting, You Ask?

Nothing, but it's what I'm immersed in (and momentarily avoiding) so I thought I'd share.

First of all, what kind of belly dance costume do you want? Did you know there are many styles of belly dance? It's not just one genre, there are subgroups within subgroups. Each one favors its own costuming style(s).

For Example:
  • Cabaret Style - This is me, heart and soul. Give me beads, give me sequins, give me glitter. I'm a magpie at heart. A couple of examples of high-end costumes are here, here, and here.

You'll notice however, none of those example feature "fluffy" belly dancers. In fact, the one with the exotic poses, I have serious doubts she even dances. Her poses are more about showing off the costume than actual dance. Bra/Belt combos go up to size 40" bust, and 40" hips. Let's say that is a tiny bit smaller than what I need.

Then just to show another style of dance, there is Tribal. Tribal has it's own styles as well. One is American Tribal Style, most popularized by Fat Chance Belly Dance in the Bay Area. Here I've linked a local ATS troupe. Notice the difference in costuming? Big difference! More friendly to all sizes of women....but this is not the style I dance. I would be rather like a tap dancer wearing a tutu...both dance forms, but costuming wouldn't fit.

Okay. There are only two styles of belly dance...and there are MORE!

Another day, we will continue to explore making your own costume. Suffice to say...I need to go back to making MINE!

Three hours later....

Okay. Let's see what I have done, shall we? Figuratively, of course, because I still have not broken down and gotten a digital camera.

The belt: Hipwork in bellydance is what most people think of, secondary to belly rolls. Middle eastern-style dance showcases incredible hip moves, from sharp stacatto to flowing rounded earthy movement. A hip belt can be anything from a scarf tied round the hips to an elaborately beaded confection that weighs 25 pounds on its own. Our troupe belt is an inexpensive cross. 2" of the heaviest weight interfaceing I could find locally, Peltek, covered with a brownish gold satin. Which, by the way, is fraying like a bitch, if you'll pardon my french. Yes, I do know all about Fray Check...but don't happen to own any. Then, a 1 & 1/2" wide gold sequin trim is applied to the belt, sewn by hand because my sewing machine hates me.

Instead of incredibly time-consuming beaded fringe, or expensive pre-made fringe, we are going cheap, but beads. The strands don't break, beads don't fly everywhere, feet don't get cut. Cheapo after christmas and looks good on stage. What more can ya ask for???

No comments: