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The Classic American Belly Dance Costume

Many additions or subtractions can take place in an American Belly dance costume while remaining true to the genre. They are individually made ensembles so personal taste is hugely influential. The basic components are head ornamentation, bra, vest, belt, skirt, pants, scarves and veil.

A headband with fringe (beads or coins or both) graces the head. The fringe dangles in front of the forehead and along the sides of the face. Also/or a scarf (or many) is worn at the hairline. Hair is loose and exposed (long hair is favored). Earrings and necklace are a must.

The bra and belt are covered with fabric. Material type and appearance are diverse but two commonalities are opaque and fancy, no gunnysack or calico. Metal adornments are sewn onto the fabric clad set. These adornments can be coins, bells, chain, large disks and sometimes small mirrors. One item may be used by itself or a combination of some or all. Metal colors can be brass, variants of nickel, gold and silver, either antiqued or polished. A belly drape of the same material is commonly included. A large center piece sits over the diaphragm with filigree draping over the belly and ribs.

In lieu of metal adornment a fabric clad set may be decorated with nylon fringe or some swags of beads and a speckling of stones or sequins. This can be lovelier than it sounds. Lightly decorated sets often use intense fabrics so there is no need to fill space.

A form fitting, sleeveless, keyhole vest can be worn with the bra. The front of the vest is cut in such a way as to allow the bra cups to be visible. The vest coordinates with skirt and pant fabrics.

Nothing notable about the shape of the bra. Belt bases are hand made and shaped to individual preference.

Several layers of skirts in chiffon are favored. Panel skirts are the classic choice though circle and other skirt patterns are used. Pantaloons (aka Harem Pants) are oft included and made from chiffons, satins, strains of silk... Skirt and pants lack detail work. Scarves may be worn under the belt or tucked into the belt.

Rings, arm bands, arm and ankle bracelets are popular, shoes are not.

Rudimentarily the ensemble isn't far off the mark from Belly dance costuming in the east but it is inherently American. The use of coins, and other metal work as decoration in belly dance costuming is an American method. Along with keyhole vests, the way scarves are often used, ankle bracelets and Indian fabrics...

To check out retro costumes I encourage you to take a look through the North Beach article series. A fabulous journey through American Belly dance with some wonderful pictures from the 1950's, 60's and 70's.

Haute Couture to Novice American Belly Dance Costumes

There is no haute couture of American belly dance costumes in the same sense as Turkey and Egypt. The classic American Belly dance costume has traditionally been a personally crafted ensemble or assembly of various pre-made items.?
But pre-made metal sets are available from Cost Less costumes. They make high end coin, mirror, foil and crystal sets ranging from 500 to over 1,000 dollars. Sara Skinner sells attractive middle of the road coin and mirror sets for around 300 dollars. India manufactures metal belts, necklaces, and anklets. Importers often promote it as Belly dance wear. It isn't belly dance wear. India has nothing to do with belly dance and they do not produce belly dance costuming. However, it's dirt cheap and a lot of folks feel it, and other Indian products, carry over well. For pre-made bra and belt forms Sugar Petals gets the most action. L Rose Designs and Glitzy Gypsy custom make lovely American Belly dance Costumes.


Happy shopping!

Article Source: http://www.bellydancearticles.com


Salome has been dancing since she was a child. At 21 her career transitioned abroad. With representation by "Rising Stars", "Classic Models", and "Showhouse" (among others) she has worked exclusively overseas in a near successive string of short and long term contracts. Learn more about Salome and oriental dance at www.orientaldancer.net.

Click here to find out more about belly dancing in Chichester and Bognor Regis
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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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