Thought Provoking Belly Dance Costumes: the good, the bad and the hideous

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
Wow...

It "might" be OK - I'd have to see it on a real dancer with a skirt at the very least. Or it may be unsaveable. But I'm with Amulya - I think the pointy bits would curl in short order...
 

Tourbeau

Active member
Those pointy bits under the bra will curl up I bet
A good costumer would wire those edges to help them keep their shape. Then again, a good costumer wouldn't make a costume where the bra was gold over green and the belt was green over gold. I suspect they were intentionally aiming for a sea theme (not just the pearls and starfish--I think the paillettes were supposed to be sort of like fish scales?) but those triangular scaly pieces in the center just look weird and out of place. And why are there faceted, colored gems on the bra but not the belt? Why is the edging trim on the belt different from the edging trim on the bra?

The more I look at it, the more I think this was a stashbuster gone wrong. I'm wondering if the original plan was to make a gold belt, but there wasn't enough gold fabric, so the design inverted and the paillette filler bits were improvised to take up the slack?

Personally, I like at least a little fringe, and I'll be generous and assume the paillettes look more mismatch-y here than they actually are because of the lighting in the photo, but this isn't a costume I'd want, if for no other reason than the puckered interfacing on the gold of the bra.
 

Tourbeau

Active member
The face in the hip band looks like a pearl-eyed Groucho Marx Green Man to me: once seen, never unseen, so be forewarned.
Sorry, I don't see "Groucho Marx Green Man." If we want to stick to the sea motif, I'd call it "Surprised and Angry Lionfish," but otherwise, I'll go off the board and call it "Mosaic Merkin in a Mardi Gras Mask."
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I like the green and gold, but would remove all the layered palettes and assorted gewgaws. Once the pieces were down to basic shapes and colors, I'd decide what decorative elements could be added to the design without cluttering it up. In costumes, I tend toward the side of less is more.
 

Greek Bonfire

Well-known member
I don't think it's bad looking for an Atlantis themed movie but it definitely is too busy for a bellydance performance. But I find even some high end costumes today just have too much "stuff" meaning accessories to the max. But I like the costume more simplified and not to overshadow the performance as a whole.
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I had one student who was far more interested in planning costumes than in learning to dance. That obsession was a wee bit crazy making, and more than once I had to explain that getting to wear beautiful costumes on stage was the reward for learning to dance.
 

Amulya

Moderator
I don't think it's bad looking for an Atlantis themed movie but it definitely is too busy for a bellydance performance. But I find even some high end costumes today just have too much "stuff" meaning accessories to the max. But I like the costume more simplified and not to overshadow the performance as a whole.
I am terrible, but those do not even look high end to me anymore due to the weird designs.
 

Tourbeau

Active member
I had one student who was far more interested in planning costumes than in learning to dance. That obsession was a wee bit crazy making, and more than once I had to explain that getting to wear beautiful costumes on stage was the reward for learning to dance.
I started at the tail end of the era when many teachers were still gatekeeping when students began performing and could have access to "real" costumes. Not that the old-school teachers ever entirely prevented the deluded-and-determined from performing before they were ready (there have always been loose cannons), but it was a slightly more controlled environment than the situation that the internet and the last major wave of popularity created. Where I was living in the 2000's, it felt like teachers were rushing students onto the stage with barely any skills because if they didn't, those students would just take their third-hand swap-meet Bellas and stomp off to find another teacher who was more supportive of their "urgent passion" for belly dance.

I understand most dancers think I'm a pedantic buzzkill with my constant nagging about music being more important than costumes, but I'm sorry. The fundamental reason to dance is to move to music, and the reason to do these dances is to move to these styles of music. Otherwise you're just exercising in a fancy outfit to some song you didn't bother to understand or appreciate.

I don't demand everyone should be an expert. It's a learning process for all of us, but I would rather watch a good dancer in street clothes (and "good" is subjective enough to span from "flawless in every way" to "wholeheartedly engaging as a performer despite inexperience and/or a few technical shortcomings") than a boring dancer with bad technique in the most beautiful costume ever created. A costume can only enhance your dancing so much. All the rhinestones and fringe in the world doesn't fix being an off-the-beat klutz.

I admit I'm judging a performer by what they wear, but not necessarily in the way they think. My expectations of a dancer in a student costume are more modest than someone in a couture costume. If you show up looking like a beginner or a hobbyist on a budget, I'll expect you to dance like someone who isn't trying to make a full-time job out of performing, but if you show up looking like a million bucks, I'm going to expect you to dance like a million bucks.

TL;DR: Don't let your costume write a check your dancing can't cash.
 
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