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! ^_^
-Thich Nhat Hanh, courtesy of Dolphina & Goddess Life on FB.
What she said! ^_^ Do you have a special event planned, or are you celebrating in you own quiet, personal way?
No matter how you celebrate (pr even if you do), HAPPY WORLD BELLYDANCE DAY!! ^_^
Are you performing today or taking part in one of the many shimmy mobs around the world?