When performing for an audience, much of the flavor of the dance comes from artfully selected costuming. It is important to bring out an individual flair in your style of dress while keeping to the spirit of the troupe and the performance. Below is a number of different pieces of costuming, what they are called and a few places where you can get them. Included is also patterns as they are available.
Baledi: This is a long, floor-length dress, frequently used in belly dance costuming. Made of natural fiber such as cotton, it gives a very folkloric look and is popular among dancers who do “American tribal” style. Made out of a sheer or glittery fabric, it offers a nice covered option for a cabaret performance. In Egyptian nightclubs, after performing a raqs sharqi routine in bedleh, the dancer usually goes backstage and changes costumes, then comes out wearing a beledi dress like this one to do a folkloric dance.
Belts: Worn around the hip to accentuate the movement or to make a lovely jingling noise as the dancer moves.
Bra: Worn to decorate and accentuate the movement of the upper body. These can be covered with trim or coins as decoration and to add sparkle and bling.
Choli: This is the bare-midriff, fitted blouse worn under saris by women in India. A close fit is the main characteristic of the choli, since it serves both as an undergarment and a blouse for the sari.
Skirts: Skirts can be used as part of the costume or part of the dance, depending on style
Veils:Both accessory and part of the choreography, a veil is a piece of material that goes about 6″ past the fingertips from the shoulder out and to mid-calf with the arm straight out and the veil folded in half over arm.
Zils: Finger symbols