We’ve had some queries as to what a new dancer should start collecting together for her belly-dancing outfit, and what costuming is necessary for a performance. The following should help! As you read, though, please remember:
- Don’t worry about getting everything right away; there’s definitely a little investment in getting your basic dancer’s costume together. Ask if you can borrow something, if you don’t have one already. We all have plenty of stuff to loan and do not mind doing so!
- We don’t need to look exactly alike. Please make sure to express yourself within the following structure!
Referencing the costume parts, top to bottom:
- Hair Garden and Makeup: addressed down below!
- Choli – brought to our costume from India! Best choice for your very first one is a basic black cotton, because of its versatility. The very best cholis can be found at Flying Skirts — they are made for a woman’s body and won’t gap and show unwanted cleavage.
- Coin Bra – making one so it’s exactly what you want is the best way to go. In the short run, though, you can either borrow one from a dance sister, or purchase one at Adira Dance in Willow Glen. For ATS you’ll want one which looks kind of like this one — aim for more coins and shells; less sequins.
- Hip Scarf – we love our fishnet scarves! You can find them at Adira’s in many colors. You should also eventually get a kuchi (or similar type of) belt. You can see several on this Etsy page; just about any of them will work.
- Skirt – a 25 yard skirt is essential for ATS dancing. Recommended first skirt is one in a solid color. Later you can get a patterned one, and as a third we recommend a plain black one for versatility. Adira’s carries a good selection, though you can find one cheaper on Weves – they’re good quality, too! (Note: the link is to a plus size skirt, but they also carry “regular” sizes. Feel free to browse other locations too!)
- Pantaloons – an easy item to sew yourself, if you want. If you purchase, make sure to get yoked pantaloons so that your layers of clothing don’t bulk up around your hips. You can clearly see the black yoke on this pair offered by the Mother Ship: Fat Chance Belly Dance.
Basic ATS Makeup:
- Tamara’s makeup is a little heavy — the lines are very thick — because this was “30 foot makeup” done so as to be easily seen when on a theater stage. For Hafladira you can make the lines narrower and the application a little lighter, as we’ll be much closer to our audience. But this is such a good photo that I had to use it!
- Bindi – we use the type that sticks on with spirit gum or false eyelash glue, but you can also use the sticker-back ones. That’s all we had back in the day! I remember going to Bombay Bazaar on Valenica in the Mission SF district to buy them.
- Egyptian or Cat Eyes – these elongate and enlarge the eyes. You can ask a troupe-sister whose make-up you admire to take a couple minutes to show you some tricks. There are also a great many tutorials on YouTube for making cat eyes. I like this one because she goes for historical accuracy, though I myself wouldn’t connect the eyebrow and “cat eye” lines. You’ll want to be careful that you do nothing to close the eye in, as well, as this makes the eyes disappear at a distance… and who wants that?
- Harquu marks remind us of the facial tattoos traditionally given by/to Bedouin women. We like to do dots over the eyebrow, maybe down the nose, and a flourish on the chin. Here is some info on “why.” There will be a link to different designs coming in the future.
- Lips – traditionally, we go with a red that suits us individually. However, if you want to use a different color to go with your eye makeup and/or costume, have at! We also like to put a little gold glitter at the center of the bottom lip for emphasis.
Hair Garden – more coming soon! Have an annotated pic for now: