Friday, November 18, 2011

WHAT is she wearing?!....Costuming Do-s and Don't-s....Part 3

I honestly do not know what is worse, to flash a little something up top accidentally, or flash a little something down below....I think they are both equally embarrassing. Being a belly dancer is challenging enough without having incredibly embarrassing things happen to you while you are on stage. I have seen some doozies! I have also sadly had a couple of those moments myself that will go down in history (for me at least) as some of my worst costume faux pas' in my life! Thank goodness I learn from my mistakes and I will share my knowledge to prevent these things (hopefully) from happening to others. (LOL....please note, not all the things I will mention below have happened to ME...phew...only a couple)

Part 3 of Costuming Do-s and Don't-s...Keeping the undercarriage "clean"......

Imagine you are at a belly dance show, it has been toted as a "professional show", and dancers are there performing by invitation only with a live band playing. How exciting! A beautiful, young and vibrant dancer comes out on stage, she is dressed in a beaded Bedlah (a bra and belt set) and layers of colorful skirts. She is just enchanting, her movements serpentine and strong. As she dances you notice her skirts fly up pretty high when she spins. The next thing you know, your getting a flash of BOTH her butt cheeks.....eeekkk! This show is supposed to be family friendly, and this dancer is supposed to be a professional! What the heck!?

Ladies, here are some very important rules you SHOULD follow, at least if you are performing in public, for a family friendly audience....

1) Know your dance space. If you are dancing on an elevated stage, then the audience will be sitting with their eyes at knee or even foot level. Which means, yes, they can see your bare legs under your skirts and often even higher if your skirts have enough weight to them to fly up when you dance. You can do things to prevent flashing something offensive!

Do not wear a G-string, or T-back undies....please! There are a lot of options out there for presentable full coverage, hot pants or cheerleader shorts are a great option, you can buy them to match the color of your costume and then you can flash them all you want. Skin toned undies and hot pants are NOT a good idea, you will just have your audience wondering if you even have ANYTHING on underneath there! Which by the way, many of us belly dance ladies ARE free spirits and I have met a few who never wear when on stage they make sure they are not going to flash their audience.

2) Know how your costume, skirts, etc. are going to move and react to your dancing.  I love, love, love Floorwork, but when I am kneeling or sitting or laying down on the floor, my skirts WILL and DO move around me very differently than they do when I am standing up. There are many positions on the floor that can very easily show large portions of your upper and inner thighs as well as...ahem....other areas. It is a really good idea to try out your floor routines in your costume and have a friend be 'the audience' while you practice.

Some of the rules I follow for shows with floorwork......

  • I never wear mermaid skirts, or close fitting lycra skirts with high slits.
  • I WILL wear chiffon or silk skirts with high slits, but try to wear a few layers and do some strategic tucking of the skirts to show just enough thigh without flashing more private bits. 
  • Harem pants are a great way to keep modest, even a pair of see through ones with the whole side slit open will cover up the areas most in need of covering. I have several pairs of harem pants that cannot be worn alone, but under a skirt are perfect replacements for the hot pants.

3) Some skirts have just enough weight to them that they can twist around on your waist as you shimmy and twist while dancing. A perfectly safe and sexy skirt with a high slit on the thigh can become a very embarrassing skirt with a high slit right in the middle if you aren't careful! A great way to prevent the twist effect is to attach your skirt to your underwear or hot pants. A lot of costumers are now selling that style of costume with the undies already attached. (Again, make sure you wear something that the color matches your costume, so it looks like it is part of the costume, then even if they get a little flash of it, they will think nothing of it.)

4) Match your underthings to your once saw a really impressive dancer, just beautiful, vibrant and exciting on the stage, and I got to see her Tuesday underpants under her skirts as she spun around the floor. Yes, Tuesday was printed in big bold block letters of Purple across a pair of Hot Pink full coverage panties. Her costume was baby blue and pink and rest of her performance was kinda forgotten after that. Maybe she forgot her performance pants at home, maybe she didn't know her skirts flew up so high, maybe she didn't care, but it was a major distraction. I know I wasn't the only one who saw them, I heard talk of it for two days afterward at the workshop classes that followed that Friday night show.

In conclusion, I would just like to remind you that it is important to present a full package. You should be a performer from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, and even though you do not plan to flip up your skirts and show what you've got underneath, you should make sure even that area is presentable to the GP.

Happy Dancing,  


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