When your belly dance school is ready to formits first dance troupe, it is important to give some careful thought to how youwill tackle the question of what to wear. You may have visions of a slick,professional ensemble – but for amateurs, it is not realistic to insist theybuy the latest fashion in a Dina bra and slinky lycra skirt.
First, there is the expense. It is onething for a professional belly dancer to spend hundreds of dollars on acostume, because she will wear it many times. How often will your students usetheirs? Will you be happy for them to appear in the same thing at every singleperformance for the next few years, to justify the cost? Not to mention thefact that some may simply not be able to afford it in the first place. Secondly,if you have older or larger ladies in your class, they may drop out rather thanperform in a skin-tight costume which is not kind to their saggy bits – and youdo not want to lose students.
However, it is important to create auniform “look” for your group. Students often have trouble keeping “in sync”,no matter how much you rehearse. Consistent costuming will help give theillusion of a coherent unit, even if they are not all performing exactly thesame steps at exactly the same time! By contrast, “make-do” outfits highlightdifferences – the audience is more likely to focus on the best outfit, ratherthan the best dancer.
Don't be afraid to ask your class howthey feel about buying something for the show – they may not want to investhundreds of dollars, but you may be surprised to find they are excited by theidea of looking like a “real” belly dancer, and are willing to make areasonable investment to achieve it. Take their feedback into account whendeciding how much you will ask them to spend.
There are a couple of options to achievea coherent look while letting your students create a costume they will feelcomfortable in:
·[FONT=Times New Roman] “Neutral” Bedleh:
Specify a bra and belt (or if you are really on a budget, a cholitop and hip scarf) in black, white, silver or gold. Allow each student to add a skirt andaccessories in any colour. Dancers who are self-conscious about their shape canadd a body stocking and a shrug.
·[FONT=Times New Roman] Same Colour, Different Designs.
Studentscan wear any style they like, so long as it is in the specified colour. This option will be welcomed by intermediatestudents who may have suitable costumes in their closet already. It is best to narrow it down (e.g. “royalblue”, not just “blue”), otherwise the outcome can be a hotch-potch (e.g. greencan range from a delicate mint, through fluoro lime to a dark bottle)! Providinga fabric swatch is a good idea.
Although the hip belt is going out of style these days in favour ofan embellished skirt, I still like the bedlah idea for student troupes. Once theyhave bought the bra and belt, you have the basis for an endless variety ofcostumes for future haflas, simply by adding a different style or colour ofskirt and adding sleeves, a shrug, ghawazee coat etc. Problem solved!
Guest post written by Thea.
Thea is a freelance writer and the owner and webmistress of [COLOR=windowtext]BellydanceOz.com
, which has grownfrom an Australian belly dance directory into a multi-stranded website forbelly dancers everywhere.
Do you have any more tips for belly dance costuming for troupes?Please feel free to submit your comments!
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