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About Belly Dance Costumes

Belly Dance and Costumes in Turkey

The art of performance is diversifying. Today, the world is becoming an expanding stage where different dances are being performed. The boundaries of geography and varied nationalities are becoming extinct. One proof of such is the rapid popularity of belly dance.

Belly dance is actually a Middle Eastern dance often associated with countries in the region. The specific origin of the dance is still uncertain and is often a cause for debate. Moreover, belly dance has helped paved the way for global orientalism, or the practice of adoption of Eastern cultures especially in the field of the performing arts. Belly dance costumes are also clear and distinct factors that give credence to assertions that belly dance is indeed Middle Eastern in nature.

Costumes are important components of any performed arts. That is because it is a basic knowledge that apparel, dresses or clothing are designed and colored to accentuate and complement particular dance actions and moves. Aside from that, a costume is a complete statement of a dance or a dancer's sentiment, mood and hidden agenda.


Turkey and Belly Dance

In Turkey, belly dance is one of the most popular and commonly performed dances. As a matter of fact, the dance craze has taken its own Turkish name, "gobek dans". Belly dance has become part of the Turkish culture, as almost all important occasions are turned into makeshift venues where belly dancers perform. Of course, a major part of every dance session is the colorful and equally attention catching belly dance costumes.

Turkish tradition has made belly dance an important intermission in weddings. The dance is also an important attraction in any circumcision party or "sunnet" a celebration of the passage of a young Turkish lad from childhood to poverty after foreskin in the genital is removed, as in the Jewish custom in male babies. Can you believe that the dance is now also performed during trade shows in the country?

Whatever the purpose and nature of a belly dance is in Turkish tradition, it is to be noted that belly dance costumes have always been important in rendering true and actual messages, ideals, moods and sentiments of the domineering occasion. As you can figure out, belly dance costumes are exquisitely designed and are colorful enough, with revealing angles and contours to help accentuate the overall sexual and passionate appeal conveyed.


The Turkish Belly Dance Costumes

Traditionally, the Turkish belly dance costumes comprise of the belt, the bra and the skirt. In the contemporary practice, there are also hip accentuations that are built and attached directly into the skirt, usually in replacement of a separate belt. Other accessories as parts of the Turkish belly dance costumes are the necklace, headband, veil and unattached sleeves or wrist/ arm cuffs. In Turkey, gowns as belly dancing costumes are not very likely but neither are pants. This is because local dancers know that legs should be shown to full advantage.

Usually, belly dance costumes are also revealing and are conducive for stuffing paper money. Appreciative observers and viewers of belly dance often show appreciation and admiration to a belly dance number by stuffing or placing money bills into the very few, scented recesses of the belly dancer's belly dance costume. The practice has also evolved and is now a standard. Most belly dancers receive their talent fees and payments in the same way.


Mass and Self Produced

Belly dance costumes, particularly in Turkey, are either hand or self made or are mass produced by clothing makers. For hand produced belly dance costumes, overall deigns are almost always original and very distinct. Some women simply spend their past time designing belly dance costumes and actually sewing and making those clothes. The advantage of this is that there is a personalized touch to the costumes.

On the other hand, mass produced belly dance costumes in Turkey have breaded fringe, which usually hang by about 6 to 18 inches halfway to the attachment to the base of the bra. Surfaces of both the bra and the belt are stitched in a color of sequin, with matching contrasts in color for a design on each of the cups and in the front and back center of the belt. The bra's edges, and also those of the belt's, are most of the time crafted and ornamented in points, curlicues and scallops.

Sheer skirt or pantaloon with minimal or no decoration at all can be a full Turkish belly dance costume. Veils can be part of the overall getup. The belly dance costumes fabrics are strong and flexible as they are often made up of durable polyester or chiffon blend.


Distinct Elements of Turkish Belly Dance Costumes

When compared to belly dance costumes widely accepted and worn in some other societies, the Turkish practice is very much recognizable with uniqueness. For one, cut outs on the belt and the skirt are evident. Skirts are arranged and at the same time styled to intentionally show the two legs of the dancer up all the way to the hips.

Beaded fringe in the Turkish version of the dance is important because it has short and even long strands. Currently, several costume designers and makers utilize small and even large glass stones that are attached to adorn the fabric, the sequins and even the seed beads to help decorate and cover surfaces of the belt, the bra and other dance accessories.

Costumes for Male Belly Dancers

In the contemporary times, there are several male belly dancers, which are called "rakkas", Turkish for dance. The practice has been there since the Ottoman Empire, whose men had resorted to watching male belly dancers for entertainment. During those times, women were not provided the right to get involved in entertainment and social functions. Thus, men enjoyed the monopoly.

In terms of belly dance costumes for men, not much particular attention and details are incorporated, though it has always been acceptable and recommended by experts that belly dance costumes be as sparkling and but not as colorful as the belly costumes made especially for women dancers.

Written by Bellydance-shop.com Editorial Group 

 

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