Costume Tips for Beginner Belly Dancers

Jamila Johari

Whether you are a professional dancer or a beginner discovering this wonderful art of belly dancing, costumes are one of the most important aspects. Costume styles vary from Cabaret, Oriental or Tribal, there are a fabulous variety of styles to choose from that  will make you look and feel the part.

Cabaret (American Belly Dance) or Oriental (Middle Eastern) costumes are the most sensual of styles.  A typical example consists of a skirt, full or straight and matching veil paired with a bedlah – embellished hip belt and bra. Beads, sequins, mirrors, and anything else that sparkles under the spotlight is used in these belts and bras. Often these beautiful costumes are worn with crowns, and elaborate rhinestone jewelry. Hair and makeup should also be very glamorous. If you like to flip your hair when you dance, try wearing it straight or curled to see what works best for you. Hair pieces also work great for long performances and are a huge time saver.

Tribal style is performed by people who prefer a less glitzy look and style. Tribal belly
dancing also tends to me more modest and shows less skin. Dance pants that are low rise, fitted and flared at the bottom are often worn for an earthier look. These tribal pants are often paired with a halter style tops, or tops that tie at the midriff with bell or flute sleeves (Choli tops). Fabrics of natural fibers are most desirable, with embellishments of coins, tassels, feathers or flowers. Dreadlocks, braids, different colored hair, bindi (from Sanskrit bindu, meaning “a drop, small particle, dot” is a forehead decoration), henna and heavy earthy jewelry is a desired tribal look.

Belly Dancing Skirts

Belly dancing skirts are often quite risqué, with splits on both sides, one side or in the middle. But this does not have to be the case, because you can opt for a full skirt if you prefer. Circle skirts will give you lots of movement with your dance. This style of skirt can be made of many different fabrics and can be layered for more glamour to your
costuming. Belly dance circle skirts are also the most flattering and femine for fuller figures.  Straight skirts are also very alluring. Some straight skirts have embellishments on them so they can be worn alone, without a hip scarf or belt.

Belly Dance Veils

Belly dance veils come in many different colors. There is great mystery and beauty to dance veils. You can choose one to match your costume using the same fabric, and color. Or coordinate with a different fabric and color that will complement your costume.
Chiffon and silk are the most popular fabric choices. The sheerness of Chiffon gives adds softness to your costume. The lightness of silk is so angelic and flows very gracefully. Veils can be found in a half circle shaper, or more common rectangular.

Hip Belts and Bras ~ Bedlah

Belly dancing belt, bra sets are an essential item for any experienced or even amateur belly dancer. They come in many colors and designs. Sequined, and beaded. Or fabric covered with gemstone and or sequin décor. Bright jewel tone colors work best on fair skin. Metallic colors such as gold or silver are very eye catching for stage performances. They also work great in restaurants with low lighting.