Belly dancing is a wonderful exercise and means of expression for any woman. One of its great advantages is that you can reach a good standard quite quickly, and start performing with amateur troupes at concerts, community fairs and festivals.
But that creates another problem - what to wear! The ornate beading of belly dance costumes mean they're expensive to buy - a professional Egyptian belly dance costume can cost $500 or $600 - and if you're not a professional, it's hard to justify that kind of money. And let's face it, many of us modern career women don't have the sewing skills our moms or grandmothers had, so the idea of making our own costume can be daunting - even if we could find the hours needed to sew on hundreds of bugle beads. On the other hand, part of the fun of belly dance performing is getting dressed up in all that “bling", and feeling like a star.
Don't despair, there are solutions. One is obvious - buy from the source! If you can find a supplier in Egypt, Turkey or even India, you'll pay a fraction of the price for a professional belly dance costume. Of course, that can be easier said than done, unless you're planning an overseas trip! On that score, it's worth checking to see if any of your local bellydancing academies are planning an escorted tour: not only can they be great fun, but you'll be able to set up your performance wardrobe at bargain prices, which will help pay for your trip!
The easier alternative is to shop online. Suppliers in developing countries have been slower to jump on the internet bandwagon than sellers in the States or Europe, but it is happening, mainly on eBay. Always check the seller's reputation before you buy, and scrutinize the photographs of the product carefully.
If you have trouble tracking these suppliers down on eBay, you're probably not doing your searches correctly. The default search usually gives you products listed on your local eBay site only. That may include some international sellers who've chosen to be listed on your country's site, but it won't include a host of international members who haven't asked for a listing, but who would be quite happy to ship their product to your country. Try doing an Advanced Search instead.
An easier alternative is to use an eBay Partner site, where you'll find all the searches done for you. eBay pays a small commission to the owner of the site, which comes from the seller's fees, not from the buyer. So it doesn't cost you any extra to buy through these stores - you're still getting those great eBay prices! - and the bonus is they are often supporting a local belly dance community.
My own website, bellydanceoz.com, is a good example of one of these stores.
In my next article, I'll look at the option to Make It Yourself. It needn't be as daunting as it sounds, if you take a few shortcuts - and no one will ever know!
© Marisa Wright 2008
For all your belly dance costuming needs, visit http://bellydanceoz.com Our bellydance bazaar has everything from hip scarves to belt-and-bra sets to professional Egyptian costumes. You'll find Isis Wings, swords, zills and more for sale from suppliers all over the world.
You'll also find profiles of some wonderful dancers, complete with videos of their performances. This part of the site is new, and still growing.