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Designer Turkish Belly Dance Costumes

Commonalities among Turkish designer Belly dance costumes are harder to nail down because the nature of designing is the individual creativity of a designer. But some commentary can be made.

Beaded fringe remains in vogue, both long and short strands. Trends lean toward a fuller fringe on the belt with minimal, accenting fringe on the bra. Attaching fringe along the base of the belt is favored. If a skirt with no separate hip belt, ample fringe is attached (unlike its Egyptian counterpart).

Designer sets tend to use large and small glass stones heavily in combination with fabric, sequins, and seed beads to cover and decorate the surface of the bra, belt, and accent the accessories. Alternatively, the surfaces may be intricately stitched in dainty glass beads of contrasting colors. There is the tendency in both instances to decorate in flowing abstract patterns. Skirt and accessories are often heavily decorated, mimicking the work on the bra and belt.

Bra shapes vary from the classic bra to adjoining half vest, asymmetrical half top/half bra, large diamond shapes on the bottom of bra... Belt shapes are also varied though the V shape is trademark (designer sets tend to be daintier than mass produced counterparts).

Full designer costumes include decorative headband and necklace, some type of arm adornment as described in the foreword, a veil, bra, belt, and skirt. Fabrics used are velvet, crushed velvet, stretch velvet, chiffons and some lycra - mostly matte.

Many American dancers have an image of this nature come to mind at the mention of Turkish Belly dance costumes. Lets explore how this stripperesque association developed. Few Americans traveled to Turkey to research Oriental dance in the 1960's and 70's. Those that did report Turkish Roman Oriental dance as a "gutsy", "primal", "raw", "unrestrained", "passionate" dance and Turkish Oriental dance (different from the Roman version) as "joyful", "energetic", "lively", and "bright". However, in the 1980's the dance became, largely, debased. It was used to cater to the soft core market and often to 'advertise the goods' at low class venues. The pictures and video produced in Turkey at that time were, primarily, targeting the sex industry. This is the type of material that became accessible to American dancers. The majority had no other frame of reference and the ill represented Turkish Oriental dance was taken at face value. Which was "exceedingly underdressed, blueplate special raunch" to quote Morocco. That is (more or less) a bygone era. Turkey sustains trained, quality artists who are well costumed and respectably showcased. It has become a popular destination for dance tourists.

Haute Couture to Novice Turkish Belly Dance Costumes

Bella and Sim Moda Evi are the unrivaled Haute Couture of Turkey. Full costumes from these fashion houses start at 650 dollars and go upwards from there. Bauchladen and Dahlal International carry high end Turkish designs that start at 800 dollars. Topkapi Designs produce middle of the road costumes starting at 400 dollars, and some high end costumes starting at 700 dollars. Istar Costumes and the Turkish Emporium sell novice sets starting at 150 dollars.


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Belly dance with Jenn

"When I dance, the sun sails safely through the night;

When I dance, the future is formed by my feet;

When I dance,the stars move through the heavens;

When I dance, Venus shimmers the desert;

When I dance, dust becomes silver, stones are made of gold!"

Cosi Fabian

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