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Egypt, A Foreword

The typical Egyptian Belly dance costume is a gown or a bra and skirt with hip accentuations built directly onto it. Accessories can include a headband, arm cuffs or form fitting (unattached) sleeves, and a veil. In Egypt Oriental dancers are prohibited from exposing bare midriff. A body stocking, made from mesh with a loose or tight weave (colored or nude) is worn with two piece sets in obedience to this law. Shoes are a possibility.

Mass Produced Egyptian Belly Dance Costumes

Lower end mass produced Egyptian Belly dance costumes are easy to spot. The fringe is 6 to 12 inches long with each strand ending in a plastic bead or palette. Fringe on the bra is attached in two places: across the base and in a large V starting at the outside of the cups and coming to a point where the cups adjoin. Though, a bra may come with only one arrangement of fringe. The fringe on the belt attaches at the base, often with an accenting piece attached to the center (front and back) of the belt.

The surface of the belt and bra is stitched in one solid color of sequins and host to no other decoration.

There is nothing notable about the shape of the current bra used in Egyptian Belly dance costumes. But the styling of the belt (low or high end) is distinct. The front part of the belt is rectangular in shape while the back is in a half circle, covering and slightly cupping the buttocks. The belt is often in one piece (unlike most Turkish belts that come in two parts) and the edges are clean and straight.

To interject opinion, these mass produced belts fit most women horribly! They are not darted to hug a womans curving figure so the bottom fits snugly while the top gaps unattractively.

A full costume includes bra, belt, skirt and matching rectangular or half circle veil. Fabrics tend to be a polyester/chiffon blend edged in seed beads and palettes. The skirt is either; a two or three paneled circle skirt decorated in sequined flowers. Or a pleated circle skirt with vertical rows of sequins.

Designer Egyptian Belly Dance Costumes

I am lumping middle/high end AND haute couture Egyptian belly dance costumes together because similar commentary applys. These costumes do not share similar characteristics with lower end sets. Soft flowing looks, long, ample fringe and bra/belt/skirt sets are in the minority.

Gowns and bra with sleek skirt is where it's at. If there is fringe on the costume; chunky beads are used, often grouping several strands together and placing them sparingly on the pelvic area. Gowns and bra/skirts are made of like fabric (variants of lycra rule). Gowns often have mesh covered cut outs on the mid-section.

The bra cups, pelvic area and length of the skirt are embroidered in recognizable designs, such as flowers or flowing abstracts. Materials used are sequins and a variety of beads. Stones, large stones especially, are uncommon. Though there is a predilection for emphasizing the nipple area with a large stone. Decoration can be sparse or incredibly opulent! Because of the polyurethane fabrics the fit is snug and sleek. This goes for the accessaries too. A full costume is gown plus head band, sleeves and veil or bra/skirt, headband, sleeves, and veil.

Belly dance stars in Egypt often wear unique and avant guard costumes. Standard shows are an hour with 3 or more costume changes. Cutting edge costuming is an important part of the spectacle. Egyptian style Belly dancers in America however favor two piece sets and gowns and leave the camouflage, spandex mini-dresses and such to Dina.

Click here to find out more about belly dancing in Chichester


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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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