And the summer appears to be just as busy!
I checked my last post and it looks like the last time I updated this was on my birthday – April 28. Holy snapdragons! At least it’s been creative, soul-enhancing things that have kept me away from the blog and not dumb things like work and mental health issues.
I have a few things I’ve made and OOTDs to post, but today I want to do a special OOTD. A belly dance OOTD!
I’ve been belly dancing for about 4.5 years and focussing on ATS (American Tribal Style) for the last 2. The costumes are very involved and very personal, which I love. You start with a good base and just keep adding stuff as you go! The dancers I know are constantly changing, evolving and adding to their costume.
You start with this:
The pantaloons I made myself, back when I was dancing cabaret bellydance with my group Hellwa (“beautiful” in Arabic). They’re a really fluid satin with 60″ wide legs (yes, I still trip and get tangled up in them all the time!). The choli (the top), I also made myself. It’s made from panne velvet, with a bit of craft cotton for the elastic casing along the bottom. It’s open in the back and ties to keep it on. This was basically my “practice choli”. I’ll still wear it for performances, but I have some gorgeous turquoise panne that I want to use now that I know how to make it fit well. I also have a scarf and some flowers in my hair, from Ardene’s.
Next step: skirt!
This skirt is from FlyingSkirts.com. The lower tier has 15 yards of fabric in it. Most of my fellow-dancers wear 25-yard skirts. I’ve also added 2 necklaces: one from a vendor at a belly dance show a few years ago (the short one) and one from the merch table the last time the Belly Dance Superstars were here. The wooden bangle is from a friend.
Fringe, from eBay and a tassel belt. I made the belt from a couple pieces of craft cotton, with heavy interfacing between the layers for stability. Then I added some mirrors and pom-pom trim, as well as the yarn tassels! It was a process, I tell you what. But an addictive process! I already have ideas for a couple more!
Zills (finger cymbals), some rings and bracelets and a bindhi.
Clockwise from top: choli chain – old necklace from Avon I pinned into the inside of the hem; wooden bangle – from a friend; spikes – from Aldo; gauntlet – my teacher brought back from India when she was there a couple years ago; stacked purple ring – Smart Set; Long filligree ring – Torrid.com; big-ass turquoise rock – Ardene; green and silver ring – Lia Sophia; Silver bauble bangle – thrifted; purple bracelet – Smart Set (I don’t usually wear it with tribe stuff, but put it on for this picture); Bodhi seed Buddha bracelet – from a vendor at the Folk Fest last summer. My nails are rather understated – just a light gold french tip – as not a lot of people wear nail polish in my tribe and I didn’t want to stand out too much with the crazy manicures I usually do. But I couldn’t just leave them plain!
So there you have it! And my costume is stil pretty “intermediate”. The senior dancers at the studio have a ton of other, cool accoutrements and costuming bits from years of collecting. I really wanted to share this though, to show that you don’t need “special” things or to travel to exotic locations to put together an ATS costume. Most of my stuff is hand made or bought at the mall. I have a couple “authentic” pieces that were brought back from Middle Eastern/North African countries, but for the most part they’re all mundane things that are brought together to make something special.
In the fall, I’m “graduating”, if you will, from my group, Ya Rayah (“the travellers”), to the senior ATS group, Ya La Habibi (“Let’s Go, Sweetheart!”). It’s literally a dream come true to be asked to dance with women I’ve looked up to since I’ve started dancing. I’ve already danced little gigs this spring and summer with them, but I start classes and rehearsals with them “for real” in the fall. Super excited!
I think I might type up a couple entries today and set them on a schedule so I get some posts in this month, in case things get crazy again.
Until next time, be good to each other and keep dancing!