Belly Dance Costumes

Belly dance costumes are beautifully intricate.  Have you ever taken the time to fully absorb all the details, especially those found within the tribal fusion style?  

Belly Dance Inspired

A couple of years ago, I became completely obsessed with these magnificent costumes.   Therefore, believing these garments should be celebrated as art forms in their own right.  

Let me now share with you how belly dance costumes inspired the look of my Autumn Goddess Dolls.

Vaudeville Style

My other passion of  hoop dance first introduced me to tribal fusion.  This is a more alternative style of belly dance costumes, when compared to the more traditional Egyptian or ‘Cabaret’ style.  In turn, tribal fusion led me to discover the earlier belly dancers from the Vaudeville era. Popular in the early twentieth century, Vaudeville was a form of entertainment in America.   A range of quirky acts that included mysterious and exotic belly dancers.  

Like that of the Egyptian dancers, tribal fusion borrowed costume ideas from the earlier vaudeville performers. However, the tribal fusion style has a much darker, earthier colour palette.  Using heavier, more textured fabrics and embellishment.

Rachel Brice,  a renowned tribal fusion dancer, pictured below, founded the dance troupe The Indigo.   They pioneered many of the key tribal fusion’s aesthetic.

Belly Dance Featuring Rachel Brice

Tribal Style and the Beauty of Layers

Key stylistic details include layering jewels such as cowrie shells and beads.  These lie upon a mixture of drapes of fabric. Sometimes, large billowing harem pants are layered with skirts, which in turn are adorned with chains or beads.  The fabrics often have an ethnic feel. 

As a textile artist, I am deeply drawn to the rich tapestry of textures and colours that have been selected to create each unique belly dance costume.  Most of all, how individual outfits are successfully woven together.  I tried to replicate this when creating my Autumn dolls by combining layered pieces, embellished with beads and buttons.

Layered Art Doll Costume Layered Textile Doll Costume

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adorned by Antlers 

Many dancers , like Zoe Jakes, now include even more extravagant accessories.  Antlers or large organic forms from dried plant structures are used to create visually exciting headdresses. Zoe Jake’s use of antlers really influenced the design of my first Autumn Goddess Doll.

Autumn Doll Design

The inclusion of antlers helped to bridge the gap between my obsession with belly dance costumes with my passion for the natural world.    And as a result, I had finally tapped into a something more ethereal.  

The Lineage of Story Telling

I had been searching for a more whimsical solution. Further more, I realised that this blend of fabrics and ornamentation indicates a sense of history.  Due to the fact that generations of women passed down the art of story telling through their dance movements and costumes.  For the reason that sensual movement combined with carefully selected fabrics and embellishments pay homage to the lineage of cultures that have contributed to the evolution of this dance form. This music video by Kai Altair demonstrates this perfectly.

With this in mind, my plan for future goddess dolls will hopefully go a little bit deeper.  I would like my fabric and decorative choices to tell the story of the doll created.  Similarly to that of handmade heirloom or memory dolls.  I like the idea that I can connect the story of supernatural, spiritual beings with the long-held tradition of folk dancing.  

If you are interested in learning more about creating your own tribal fusion look then I recommend this book ‘The Shining Cloth‘.

 

 

 

 

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