Sunday, November 15, 2009

Staying Warm

It's always nice to have a belly dance cover up (cloak, aba, robe, caftan) that is a bit on the warm side. You can wear it before and after your show, parade, or gathering. You might want one in a thin fabric or a heavier one for colder days. Make sure it is easy to get into and out of. Pick a color that will go with most of your costumes. A neutral like gray, camel or taupe would work out well. If you have embroidery or beading skills you can show them off on your cover-up. If you get ambitious you can even put your dance name or troupe name on your robe.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Steampunk Influenced Belly Dancing

For those of you putting together a Steampunk or Neovictorian influenced belly dancing costume there are some examples on this video. Plus it's just very cool to watch. And they interviewed one of the Abney Park guys as well.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gothic Belly Dance

I'm so frustrated with belly dance right now. But this video took my mind off of things for a bit.

Friday, August 07, 2009

About those videos

Watching dance videos is inspirational and great and fun, but don't forget to turn them off and actually go do some dancing.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Reasons to Dance

I wrote a longer article about my new dance project here: Don't let dance slip out of your life. Find ways to keep yourself motivated. I'm looking forward to dancing today.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

World Belly Dance Day

I just found out about World Belly Dancing Day on May 9. I found a local event I can go to but it might conflict with some Mother's Day plans. Go ahead and go to their website to see what's shakin' in your area. If I go, it will be to the one in Yorba Linda, CA.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Cairo Carnivale

MECDA's Cairo Carnivale will be on the Queen Mary this year. Impressive. It's in June. I haven't been in a few years but I'm sorely tempted because of the venue. The last time I was on the Queen Mary was for a Scottish Highland Festival. I've probably been to maybe 6 Cairo Carnivales. I danced at one, volunteered at 2 and was a tourist the other times.

There is always great shopping and many many dancers to enjoy. And an amazing photo opportunity.

Teacher From My Past

I was surfing photos on Flickr and ran across a listing about one of my former belly dancing teachers. I'm glad she's alive and well. While my troupes have always flopped, hers have always prospered. And I found out the troupe has a website so here you go: I think I first met her in the early '80s. And as far as I know she's always taught for Morro Bay Park and Rec. I've been all over California several times since then. I have to admire her stability. Go Patti GO!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tribal v other types of belly dancing

Following is a question a former student asked me and my answer:

> Hi, Fayme, I know it's been a long time.
> Yesterday I did some belly dancing with some
> women who are in the SCA. They do tribal belly
> dancing and I didn't know how to that. Which
> leads me to this question. What is the
> difference between tribal style of dancing
> compared to what we did when I took lessons from
> you?

Ah yes, time marches on.
What I teach is a combination of Egyptian, Arabic, Cabaret and Tribal belly dancing.
Up until about 1987, belly dancers at Renaissance Faires were doing cabaret belly dancing and dressing in that same style.

It didn't fit in too well. So a group in the SF area called Fat Chance belly dance came up with a 'look' they called tribal. It was an eclectic blend put together in the way only Americans could have done, blending together costuming from India, Egypt, Afghanistan, Africa, and wherever else seemed appropriate. Then they started dancing in a synchronized way, all doing the same moves. The closest thing I can think of is the Rockets. Tribal is the chorus line of belly dancing.

Then as the years went on, things evolved even further. More tribal groups sprung up and evolved in different directions. Some of it may barely resemble the tribal style that is credited to Fat Chance Belly Dance. Since I can't see the style you are watching in your SCA group, I can't pin it down exactly. But the background you have should not be too far away from picking up the local style. Just remember tribal is a fabrication, and not historical at all, so don't let them bully you. They'd never document it in a pentathalon for example. Tribal evolved from the steps you already know.

Lately dancing has been evolving in the direction of 'fusion' and including more and more robotics. Some of the new trends can be found on youtube by googling up 'steampunk belly dance', 'fushion belly dance', 'gothic bellydance' and 'raks gothique'.

Hopefully the SCA dancers are teaching you their choreography. If they are then you'll soon see you have a foundation for it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I love this graphic

Dark Gothic MySpace Comments and Graphics

Comments - Graphics - Layouts - Photobucket

Use art for costume inspiration. Use color schemes that appeal to you as well. Use themes to make a new look for yourself.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Steampunk Gloves

A tutorial on Steampunk gloves.

Now you can make your very own.

Steampunk Belly Dance Costuming

This video is short but has lots of inspiring ideas in it. Since my goal is to design a steampunk belly dancing costume for myself, I am keeping an eye out on new videos in that genre.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Weather is Gorgeous in S. Calif.

The weather is gorgeous today and I'm thinking of reclaiming my dancing space in the backyard. The flower beds have encroached on the patio and need some major maintenance. Also, there is a lot less space on the patio than there used to be because of our archery projects and furniture people have given us. Why is it so hard to keep space free for dancing? I struggle with it constantly. Once someone parks a table and benches or chairs somewhere it seems as if they are there forevermore.

I used to dance out there quite a lot but then two neighbors moved in and had babies. Now I am self-concious about making noise out there. You know, like drumming and finger cymbals and belly dance music? I doubt my neighbors are as fond of it as I am.

Oh how I miss having my own house and yard.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Make a Veil

I saw some lovely fabrics at Joanne's today that could be used for belly dancing veils. Some even had scalloped edges and sequins. If you have even moderate sewing skills, it's easy to make your own veils. Especially if you have a serger. You can also hem them by hand, even though it is time consuming. One friend of mine crocheted edgings in fine thread around every veil she made. Just remember adding trim adds weight to a veil, which is both a plus and a minus depending on how you intend to dance with it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Giving Your Costumes a Make-over

If you just bought a used costume, or you've begun to notice the wear and tear on your costume there are still ways to make it look new again.

1. Remove damaged beads and replace with new beads. Keep to the same color scheme or change it entirely. Swap the old trim or appliques for something new.

2. Sometimes you can dye your veils and skirts to give them a new lease on life. Figure out what kind of fabric they are made from, and be sure you get the right kind of dye for your fabric.

3. Add or move the push-up pads inside your bra to give yourself a lift.

4. Put fringe above the crest of your breasts. If you put it below that fall line, it tends to make you look dumpy/saggy. Not a good thing.

5. Experiment with the bra straps until you find a way that supports you the best. Add multiple straps if you have to. Neck straps work fine if you are under endowed. If you are over endowed they'll give you the worst neck ache ever.

6. Raid the lingerie department for stretch lace to cover your navel, arms or any other part where you don't want to be overexposed.

7. Make sure all your straps play well together. It can get a bit tricky with bra straps, vest holes, sleeves, and layered garments. Try moving the layers around until it looks right then take a photo so you don't forget how you did it when you are rushing to get dressed.

8. Make sure your head wraps, turbans, dreads, braids, and shells play well together. No sense getting the perfect big hair and then ruining it when you have to pull your caftan over it.

9. Shoes: Change the look of your shoes by dyeing them, adding beads, buckles or bows.

10. Check out some of the cross-over fusion styles of steampunk or burlesque. Update your look with a bustle, bloomers, camo, or something else that's cutting edge. Change it up. If you are getting bored with your look, chances are your audience is too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Velvet Cloak DIY

To preserve the mystery of the costume when you are not performing, you are going to need some cover ups. Here is a tutorial for a velvet cape with a satin lining. A bit hot for southern CA but I'm sure some of you dancers in colder climates will enjoy this.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I'd Rather Be Belly Dancing

Wish I was out bellydancing tonight. It's a Sat. night. And here I sit on the computer. I may have to start joining Meet-up groups again before I go stir crazy. Meet up used to be free. When they started charging I left. But now, years later I realize I'm not going to meet people with the same interests that I have just wandering around the neighborhood. And meet up is actually cheaper than joining MECDA or some other dance organization again. It's not a perfect solution but it does improve the odds.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Making space

Today started out raining again. S. Calif. doesn't typically get this many days of continuos rain. So today I need to concentrate on shifting all the boxes in the living room to make indoor dance space. It is rather hopeless because the minute I clear space my boyfriend takes the opportunity to pile stuff into it in spite of me telling him time and time again I need the space to exercise. He doesn't care. When he needs exercise he hops on his bike and rides half the day. (So yes, half the time I have bikes in various states of destruction in my living room). At least he doesn't own a motorcycle. My friend said her hubby had a motorcycle in her living room for six months. And a stack of tires. Come on guys, give us a break.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Belly Dancing Nurses

Well, I'll be darned. There is a forum for belly dancing nurses.

Are you a Belly Dancing Librarian?

I'm met quite a few and love this site devoted to that topic. I ran across it years ago and I'm happy it's still up there. So I'm glad to share it with all of you.

There are also a lot of belly dancing nurses. Perhaps there's a website somewhere for that as well.


I must admit I'm a little nervous to see that one of the people checking out my blog is If she's sending people over here to get costume tips that's great. But if she's sending people here to laugh at me and make fun of me, that makes me a bit queasy. I couldn't find any reference to this blog on her blog, but then again I didn't glean through it with a fine tooth comb. I am glad to see on my list of visitors as I used to be a member of that site and think highly of it.

One of the turn offs in the belly dancing world is the high level of criticism and even cruelty that I've run across from time to time. I try not to let it get me down.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Walking for Fitness

Walked for an hour and a half at the archery range today. I was huffing & puffing but my friend wasn't breathing hard at all. Just shows I need to do more cardio. She's been going to a gym and chasing her two little boys. But I feel that if I keep walking an hour a day I'll soon be able to keep up with her. We live far apart so we can't normally walk together. She used to belly dance to. I keep trying to talk her into taking it up again. We'll see.

Cardio Belly Dancing For Core Strength

A few things recently have inspired me to do a more cardio version of belly dancing. Namely the people from So You Think You Can Dance doing an infomercial on 'core strength' featuring Latin Dance Moves. Now you and I both know that belly dancing has those very same moves in it like figure 8's with your hips and hip lifts and rib cage slides. In other words we already have the steps in our dance vocabulary to get fitter abs and better buns and strong arms and shoulders. Every time I see that infomercial I get more determined to use belly dance moves in the very same way, namely 30 minutes of cardio a day. Most of us have all the tools to get fit, we just don't use them often enough and consistantly enough. Focus on the moves that target above the knees up to the torso and put on your fast music (after a proper warm up of course). Set a timer for 30 minutes and don't stop. No sitting on the couch or chatting with friends or getting distracted because the cats want petted. Let me know how it goes for you.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sewing Tips for Carrie

Sewing is all about baby steps. If you have other friends that belly dance don't be afraid to ask them if you can look at the way their costumes are put together. Look at the inside. Check out the fasteners. You can learn a lot that way.

Find a good basic sewing reference book. Used bookstores often have them. In a pinch you can get one from the library. Before you cut into expensive fabric you can do a test garment out of old sheets, muslin, yard sale fabric or clothing you no longer want. Baste it all together and then when it fits right, carefully undo the basting and you'll have a pattern that fits you. Try to find a sewing buddy so you can measure and fit the tricky spots where you can't reach. Sewing is fun in small doses so you don't get frustrated. When you quit for the day, quit after you've had a successful bit of sewing. That way you'll look forward to getting back to it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Making Tassels

It's a rainy day in southern California. I didn't really feel like weaving today. But then I remembered I also needed to make tassels for the woven hipband so I decided I was in the mood to do that.

Making tassels goes a lot quicker when you use 3 strands of yarn at a time. So if I wrap the yarn 25 times around the cardboard, that's actually 150 strands in one tassel. Because each wrap makes 2 strands. Two strands times 25 wraps times equals 50 ends. And each wrap has 3 kinds of yarn so that's 150.

Or to put it another way. One wrap around the cardboard equals 6 individual ends once you cut the tassel across the bottom. So 6x25=150. Sometimes doing things is easier than explaining them.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Woven Hipband

I had an epiphany this morning. I realized the weaving I'm doing on a 6' board loom would lend itself well to making belly dancing tribal hipbands. All I have to do after the weaving is done is hang some matching yarn tassles, coins, shells, or other doodads from the hipband and figure out a way to fasten it around my hips.
I haven't seen any woven hipbands though no doubt someone must have done this before, but it would be unique as far as what I've seen out there so far. Blogger is being impossible today with trying to post photos, but you can see some of the weaving in my other blog here:

Genie Up-do

I gotta try this quick genie look up-do sometime.
Great for those impromptu belly dance moments when you unexpectedly get asked to dance. And also this scarf look has potential. Before those chiffon scarves always slid out of my hair but she shows a clever way to pin the scarf on.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Tribal Buns

Ever find a video that was exactly like a video you just wanted to make but never got around to? Here's how to make yarn hair falls and how to add them to the buns in your hair. I personally like the Homespun yarn for this but there are many exciting yarns that will work to make your hair look opulent and exotic. I just wish the internet would have been around when I was 22. Not so sure people want to see a fat old lady on youtube videos but I haven't let that stop me so far. Anyway, here is the ever so beautiful dancer from the gypsykiss site showing how to make and wear hair falls. Happy dancing.