As a troupe director, I know that its impossible to please everyone when it comes to costuming. Each member has an opinion about colors, shapes, styles and coverage that works for their body. Sending a dancer out on to stage in an ill fitting, or ugly costume, or one that just doesn't suit them, sets them up for insecurities and failure. A well thought out costume, that makes them look and feel beautiful, both as part of a team and as an individual helps them perform to the best of their abilities and take home happy memories.
Here are a few things to consider when planning your troupes costume:
How do you get a "put together look" with a large group of dancers? Here are my suggestions:
For the photo above each dancer was given the same instructions. The wrap top was the key fabric and comes from www.Bellydance.com. We found that the matching pants were a little short for our taller dancers, so we added in a black pant in the same cut, but an interesting fabric. Our second fabric is black and silver Assuit as we were dancing at Assuit Fest that year. The dancers added Assuit to their bras and belts as they wished. Trimming a bra with Assuit is fairly cheap if dancers can split up a piece of fabric between them. Other dancers enjoyed the opportunity to include larger or vintage Assuit pieces. Skirlets and belly drapes were options. Each dancer was asked to find jewelry that suited her personality and a large flower in a stand out color.
In the stair case photo below our troupe chose to use a "Pick and Mix" bra and belt set as our neutral. On this occasion we paired it with matching yoga pants in a fabric we knew would stand out at the venue and a large flower in the same shade. Each dancer added wrist or arm bands to compliment her shape and jewelry that matched her personality. On other occasions we paired it with a purple skirt and wrap top. The purple set also mixed and matched with harem pants and a tube top to give a more modest look for outside events as you can also see below. We also all owned a circle skirt and veil in a candy color, which you can see in the third picture. From this one, expensive set, we had three very different looks, using cheaper, off the peg, pieces.
Sara Shrapnell is a belly dance teacher, performer and writer. Her first book "Teaching Belly Dance" is available on Amazon. She is currently writing "Becoming a Belly Dancer" with Dawn Devine, Alisha Westerfeld and Poppy Maya.
Sara Shrapnell is a belly dance writer, teacher and performer.
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