Well my friend Charisse did a little looking (through a site called tineye.com- which I’ve never heard of, but now MUST investigate, due to all the background-less photos here on Tumblr), and SHE FOUND THE PLACE THAT MAKES THESE BRAS, BELTS, ACCESSORIES AND HEADPIECES!!!! EEEEEEE!!!! *bounce bounce bounce bounce* GO CHECK IT OUT!!!!! LOVE THEIR WORK!!!!! ^_^ *schproing*
..Oh yeah.. there is just oooone caveat about my passing this on to you all:
IF ANYONE PURCHASES WORK FROM THEM, YOU HAVE TO BUY ME SOME, TOO. ;D
In the Immortal Words of Baloo & Mowgli; "I Wanna Be Like You-u-u!" ..Or, not? ;)
An earlier version of this was posted not long ago, but I decided to repost because the “chat” format Tumblr offers doesn’t seem to actually allow people to have an open exchange (:P). So here is my huuuuge costuming entry again, and I hope it gets people talking more about their ideas, ideals and opinions on the various aspects of bellydance costuming mentioned below. :)
Personally, I really dislike the idea of having to adhere to a formulaic method for looking like any one particular “type” of dancer. Unless I’m recreating a historical or ethnic dance, I don’t want to conform to any one specific (stylistic) set of guidelines, overall. I shudder & inwardly, instantly rebel at the idea of being a “typical..” ANYTHING. (And as a fluffy dancer, I kind of break most molds already, just by going out onstage.) So while there are lots of things that lots of dancers do or wear that I -adore,- I -never- wanna “Look Just Like X” or feel I Have To Be.. any ONE thing. I simply like all kinds of dancers’ looks and enjoy many different styles.
But regardless of style, with everything I do, use and wear, I prefer to learn about things FIRST, and utilize them in my dance RESPECTFULLY AND THOUGHTFULLY second. What are your thoughts? Do you (or feel other dancers) have rules for costuming where it pertains to certain styles? Do you think most (or even just certain) bellydancers aspire to look precisely one way or another? Is there a rote formula for “the true” Tribal, Tribal Fusion, or Cabaret look?
Obviously each style has its reasons & history for becoming what it is today, and I don’t mean to instigate the retelling of an overall history of bellydance. But I would like to eke out peoples’ ideas, thoughts n’ feelings on why they choose specific styles & costume elements, and how they feel about the subject of bellydance costuming at large. :)
I’ve noticed during my journey through bellydance that often Tribal dancers look one way, Tribal Fusion dancers; another, and Cabaret girls; still another (ftmp). But like I said, personally I don’t want to look any one certain way, or be identified as one specific type of dancer- overall. I may have a few specific images or ideals I’d like to evoke for a few select shows/performances (and of course I have a general image of the kind of feel I’d like to evoke as a dancer at large), but on the whole, I’d like to learn a bevy of styles and eventually be able to dance Cabaret one day, Tribal another, incorporate Flamenco here, hip-hop there, learn a all about Bollywood, etc..
The main caveat of all that is that I am to learn enough about ALL these forms so they’re ALL done justice as I flow from one dance to another- or incorporate them into my fusion dance. While yes, that may involve more work and study, to me, each dance form (and thus subsequent culture) deserves its own reverence, education & respect. I dearly hope that comes through in my writing- but more importantly, my dance.
But I know some people rail against such concepts of “blending” and “fusion.” What about you..? Where do you stand on the topic of innovation, dance study and learning its history/background? Does that influence you style of dress in any way? And do you think some realms or topics are completely taboo when it comes to bellydance? Are there Musts and Must-Nots if someone’s dancing one particular style or another, or is it all up to each dancer to interpret his/her own style, and edit/police herself..?
How about stylistic role models? Are you particularly inspired by one genre or another, or do/did you have a particular belly-image idol/icon that drives your primary look? Heck.. do you even HAVE a primary look..? Do you aim to achieve a specific look for a particular style or tradition of dance most of the time, or do you simply pick pieces that you love regardless of style? (I.e. “can I wear a shrug in Cabaret..?” or “hmm, maybe this bedlah would work for Tribal,” etc.) And do you choose dance gear first and shape your routines/pieces around ideas you form from those pieces, or do you start with an image and then find goodies which fit it forwhatever projects you happen to be working on?
I’ve also noticed that some dancers seem to have developed -SERIOUS- “mini me” followings. Do you feel this is due to lack of imagination on the emulating dancers’ parts, that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, or that it’s simply a case of beginners emulating their teachers/idols; which they may then eventually outgrow? Or do you feel there are dancers out there who’d choose to be carbon copies of x, y, or z if they could..?
And what about the innovators? Have you seen some dancers attempt to “patent” a design or a look- even down to specific designs? Or do you feel the community is more “share and share alike” about costumery..? And if you do feel there are certain bellydance/costuming paradigms, are there any dancers out there who’re breaking out of or challenging those molds? (Maybe male bellydancers wearing outfits very similar to their female counterparts? Or how do you feel about those wearing the bra-like Turkish vests?) How do you feel about “Tribaret..?” Does such a thing even really exist? (Again, I have my own thoughts on this, but I’d love to know your opinions. :))
Also, some aspects of certain costumes really seem to irk certain people. What are your thoughts? W/o going into the whole appropriation argument too much, have you noticed any desirable or undesirable trends in costuming when it comes to any one style- or variety of styles lately? (For example, asymmetrical costume tops in the world of Cabaret bedlahs seem to be on the rise. Personally the whole differently-decorated boobie thing just drives me nuts, ‘cause I think it makes yer tatas look all loppydoodle. But that’s just me. ;)) How ‘bout you?
Annnyway, I know this is one heck of a list, but there are lots of questions I’ve had over time, and variables exist throughout the bellydancing community about pretty much all styles of dancing, so I figured I’d ask. :) This was primarily meant to be a catalyst for dialogue, so please, let us hear YOUR thoughts- on any of these subjects! Do tell! ^_^
A friend recently put out an inquiry concerning local bellydance resources for her daughter. I made a few suggestions, but she’d pretty much done all the legwork she could within the area. So at the time, I figured that was that.
But later on, a little inspiration hit me; to do a little more research about the topic online. At first I was just looking for videos on places like YouTube that might offer a little bit of (GOOD) instruction for kids- but in the process, I found the above; which turned out to be a great piece. :)
It discusses the differences between Mid. Eastern & Western attitudes about the dance, & how children learn the dance in each culture; as well as the pros and cons of introducing kids to bellydance in this society overall. :)
So now (given that my friend’s not likely the only parent out there who’s considered introducing her child to bellydance), I figgered this article might be worth sharing. :)
Man.. I wish my mom had known bellydance was a possibility for kids when I was little! I know it’s a futile pursuit to ponder the “what ifs” now, but it still makes me wonder how different things might be for me today, given the kind of exercise, cultural awareness, encouragement of personal creativity & physical expression the dance offers us all- at any age. Plus, that’s not including the natural support system that bellydance seems to offer its community. There’s such a sisterhood that can be found in this art form! :) Can you imagine all of those benefits having been there, inherent in your upbringing too? *gawps inwardly* Wow!
Makes me wanna learn more about Suhaila Salimpur and other 2nd generation bellydancers like her- and what they went through.. how the dance touched & improved their lives (negatively or positively) growing up. :)
Are you a second-generation bellydancer? How has that affected your life, positively or negatively? What were the differences you noticed growing up between dancing and non-dancing families..? And if you have them now, do you encourage your kids to dance these days?
Clearly, this person is trying to be funny. However there is lots about this article that pisses me right off. ..You know that picture of the woman in the wheelchair which I just blogged? I was trying to find her, and stumbled upon this instead. I wanna write this douchebag and tell him/her that bellydance is not only something you can/should do if you’re “athletic,” but also something that can be done by ANY body- beit small, large, young, old, able-bodied OR disabled. *growls* Frickin’ razzafrazzin’ farglblrg$*%^@*#$%…!!!
I’m not saying that this woman’s actions are excusable (if that’s what the article was attempting to focus on), or that people should abuse the system (despite the fact that this author seems to be both damning & supporting such actions, simultaneously), but there is just so, so much about this article that “grinds my gears…” How about you..?
Have y’all heard of Tina Sugandh? She’s an Indian American singer, musician, songwriter & dancer (literally- like her family’s from India, but she grew up in Jersey), & lots of her music blends both Eastern & Western grooves. I’ve only heard 3 songs of hers so far, but she ain’t half bad. :)
If you’re a fellow Bollywood or bhangra fan (or just dig bellydancing to Indian music) she might be worth a quick listen. :)
It’s a little startling how one off comment can cut to someone’s heart. This is why we ALL should be more thoughtful in the way we treat others- even in a casual or brief instance. You never know how much a smile or a generous word can uplift someone’s day- or even life. And the same thing goes w/bringing people down.
Personally, I tell almost everyone that I’m a bellydancer. Partially because I “dress like one,” on my “off” hours, and partially because the dance has so greatly infiltrated my life, my brain and my spirit that I can often be found shimmying in the grocery store, practicing shoulder & rib slides on the bus, and singing or listening to bellydanceable music- just about.. everywhere. :)
It’s not unusual for me to get shocked, startled looks from people when I tell them I bellydance, and no, I don’t often like seeing myself bellydance (say in pics or video). I realize I’m a big girl, and sometimes I am truly self-conscious about it. But bellydance has also helped me w/my confidence about that, too (and other things) a great deal as well, so I’m all about sharing those aspects of my journey, too. :)
Sometimes I get a sneering, condescending look when I reveal my belly-“secret” to folks, but most of the time, people are just genuinely curious as much as surprised- and I don’t mind that; ‘cause I am actively challenging the paradigm. I know that girls my size (let alone girls with visual impairments & other disabilities) are rarely seen in most bellydance circles (much less the public eye), so every time I go outside in my gear, every time I perform, I’m challenging the stereotype.
And while no, it’s not always easy- (I do still get nasty comments, whispered jeers behind peoples’ hands, and sometimes open, outright ugliness), for the most part, peoples’ reactions have been relatively positive. I think it’s my enthusiasm for the dance, and my general lack of shame. *lol* As soon as people say “you’re a bellydancer?? Really??" I say "You bet! We’ve got a show on Thursday night at the Royal She-Sha just down the street! You should come out and see us sometime!"
More often than not, that leads to a whole conversation about bellydance- or a discussion on how “awesome,” “remarkable,” or “insert-other-word here” that means they’re inspired by the fact that I do what I do, despite my visual impairment and size. (Though to me, while flattering it is in essence, most of the time I sit and think “well.. what am I supposed to do..? Just sit in a corner & waste..? No way!!” ..But apparently that attitude seems to surprise folks too.. so *shrug* I guess that attitude’s just a product of my upbringing. :) (Thank you, Mom. ♥♥♥)
In fact, I wish peoples’ reactions to my revealing that I’m a bellydancer were as positive as when I tell people about my vision. Usually the latter ends in apologies, downcast eyes and people looking shameful (whether or not they’ve just said something nasty). But when it comes to bellydance, usually our conversations lean toward either them bellydancing, my bellydancing, my troupe bellydancing, or someone they know/knew who does so/did, and it’s usually a lot of fun. :)
Plus, once you break down peoples’ barriers & preconceived notions about what they think could/should be a bellydancer, they often start realizing that there are no limits, and that considering that maybe they could take up dancing themselves- or, conversely, pursue some other dream that maybe up until now, they’ve been too afraid to pursue.
It’s actually kind of magical, really. And to me, that’s all part of the magic of bellydance. I get to share my love of it with people, even when they don’t think/suspect/approve of a person like me bellydancing, and maybe, just maybe, somewhere, even in a little part of them, turn something inside them around- or light something inside of them up. :) I may not change their minds today, or tomorrow, or maybe even a year from now. But maybe I’ve just made ‘em smile for a minute, and perhaps, consider other possibilities. :)
So when people are ugly, I try not to let them get me down. Sure I’ve encountered some ugly remarks. And of course, I have some bad days where my venue is too hot, too crowded, and my sword just will NOT keep still. As a big, blind girl often wearing crazy clothes & jingly jewelry, of course I get catcalls and snide comments barely veiled behind angled heads. And when I’m in full costume and traveling..? Oh honey.. forget about it! ;P (I don’t have an affective, all-over-body cover-up yet, so that’s usually my coat and/or a veil wrapped around me.)
Living in a college town has given me access to some amazing spirits, allowed me my first foray into teaching dance, and our troupe has even collected a few members from dancing at local venues. But I’ve also definitely encountered others who’ve been.. negatively influenced by their contact with certain other.. spirits.. and believe me, they can be OBNOXIOUS. (I.e. drunken frat boys and pissy sorority girls who crowd everything from the city’s streets to our mutually-traveled public buses.) But I like making peoples’ faces light up when I dance, seeing how happy they are when they finally get up out of their chairs to dance with me, and how much I make the bus drivers laugh when they see me waiting them at the bus stop w/a (covered) sword on my head. I like the way bellydance seems to touch other people through me, and that not only outweighs the negativity some people would put on me, but makes it all worth sharing- any day. :)
Seriously, i’ve been holding that in since yesterday.
(insert tearing hair out gif here)
We had a vendor come in yesterday, great guy, takes care of all the medical cabinets in the office at The Company, and i was telling him about the show that we just had this past weekend. He asked me what…