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    Friday, March 09, 2007

    Bellydance costumes in the SCA

    What with event season rapidly approaching, I'm looking at my garb closet wondering "what can I let slide for another year?" I've got 14 years of costumes in various states of disrepair, and the LAST thing I want is a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of a Friday night hafla at Outlandish. Especially with all those cellphone cameras now...yeah, that's just what I need. A nice internet scandal.

    Times have changes since I started dancing. This old photo of Estrella War (I think from '95 or '96) shows me wearing a somewhat gypsy ensemble (and what I later found out to be a Turkish vest) and showing off my blindingly white belly. Good Lord. I could signal planes with that much reflective area. 'Tis a rare occasion to see that much skin on me now, so enjoy the photo.

    Since hooking my camel up to the Darbuka train, I've learned what is and is not acceptable garb on the dance carpets. But I tell you now, to end all rumor, that I have never, nor will ever, wear chainmail or bunny fur garb. Not that it doesn't look lovely on the right lady (and I know the guys like it) but it's just not me.

    If only there had been such research as the Origins of Oriental Dance for me to study, then m
    y early attempts at sewing a ghawazee would not have been so laughable. There were scant few resources for dance garb when I started dancing, but the power of the internet has made this much easier today. All I can say is that I wish there had been someone to tell me how to make a dress form of myself. That would have certainly saved me some time and headaches. Thankfully, Atira's Fashions came along with their wonderful catalog of patterns to save me from further costuming catastrophes.

    Even though 'tribal style' is not technically SCA period, it has some of the most beautiful dance styles and costumes! I have learned that a dancer can never have enough tassels! Tribe Designs and Zanbaka have some lovely belts to buy (or get ideas from) and has a great Choli page with pre-sized printable pattern pieces! I also suggest a visit to Desert Rain's Costume Page. There's a few PDF's with some very good instruction on creating simple garb like skirts and pants, as well as how to do turban wraps and tribal makeup.

    Want to meet other SCA middle eastern dancers? Well, the obvious answer would be to show up at some events and start dancing! Or, take the information superhighway to the very active and informative SCA Middle Eastern Dance group on Tribe. It has over 500 members now, from all over the world!

    I've got to go get my shimmy muscles in shape now, and figure out what I need to mend before event season. Time to get shakin'!

    What Kind of Belly Dancer are You?

    You are a Folkloric Belly Dancer! In fact, we can't even call you a belly dancer -- you prefer the term Raks Sharki or Oriental Danse. Your choreographies are spot on authentic and your costumes are the real deal. You wouldn't dream of doing a Saudi step in a Ghawazee dress. A card-carrying member of the ethnic police, you keep the rest of us in line -- the debke line, that is!
    Take this quiz!

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    1. I'm from the SCA and down here in Trimaris where even the cold season is hot usually most dancers wear the tribal stuff.

    2. Is a Ghawazee period for the SCA?

      1. No, but neither are a lot of things.


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