Thank you to Surreyya and Crystal for
for the sake of illustrating this article!
Where Have All
The Cover-ups Gone?
by Ashiya and Naajidah
the last time you were out in public and saw a ballerina walking
down the sidewalk in her white satin pointe shoes, tights and
tutu? Have you ever walked into a restaurant and seen a troupe
of tap dancers dining in their expensive costumes, complete
with tap shoes? Have you ever been to an ethnic festival,
art fair, state or county fair and seen a liturgical dancer
or lyrical dancer in her beautiful long flowing dress and slippers
eating a Coney dog or riding the rides? It seems that whenever
you goes to a workshop, a show or some type of festival where
belly dancers are involved, our costumed dancers can be seen
in all of these public situations and more.
happened to professionalism? Mystery? Decorum and good taste?
Where have all of the cover-ups gone?
add to the air of mystery. Remember that old adage, why
buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? If you're
dancing at an ethnic festival, why should the public bother
going and seeing your performance if you've been
walking around the festival grounds all afternoon in your
costume with everything already on display? Putting
on a cover-up generates a feeling of mystery. What does
your costume look like? What kind of dance will you perform?
Adding suspense to your performance heightens that moment
when you first take the stage in your beautiful costume.
trained in dance studios and worked in the theatre for
many years, we had it drummed into our heads from an early
age that costumes are for the performance and only the
performance. They were to be put on before the show and
removed afterwards, and not doing so was the height of
tackiness. When one had to appear in public in costume,
one was to wear a cover-up at all times. Costumes are costumes
and they are for performances..PERIOD. They' re
not street clothes.
around in your costume before a performance negates that
moment when you step on stage and reveal to your audience
what you are wearing. Part of getting and retaining an
audience' s attention lies in concealing your costume
before you appear. Being a performer or entertainer is
more than just getting up on stage and dancing.
you go to the theatre to see a performance or show, there
is an anticipation that builds up in the audience before
the opening curtain. You know there is something you want
to see, but you don' t know what it is. If you walk
into a theatre and everything is just sitting on stage
and open to viewing, you' d lose that magical moment
when the production starts. That anticipation and mystery
is what you as a dancer lose when everyone has already
seen you in costume. It' s a lot like your Christmas
presents. If everything was sitting under the tree unwrapped
then that build up for Christmas Day and opening the presents
is gone. You' ve already seen what you are getting,
and your interest turns to what you haven' t seen
around in your costume without a cover-up after a performance
is regarded by most professionals as tacky and totally
unnecessary. There is absolutely no reason any performer
should ever be seen in public in her costume when not performing. None. The
curtain has closed, the show is over and you (the dancer)
have now become you the person. Would you wear your costume
to the grocery store? Of course not. So, why would you
wear it out on the street after a performance?
any professional show; a nightclub where a top-rated belly
dancer is performing, a workshop with a big name dancer,
a national touring show. You do not see dancers like Cassandra, Morocco or
the Superstars out in public before or
after their performance without a cover-up on. There are
many workshop sponsors who REQUIRE that anyone who performs
in their shows wear a cover-up at all times when not dancing.
And we applaud them for doing so!
performer, you spend hours getting ready for a performance.
You listen for hours on end to find the right music, you
rehearse for days and you agonize over choosing just the
right costume. When the time arrives for the show, you
make sure your hair is right, your make up is perfect and
your costume is adjusted correctly. You choose your accessories
with care and with one final look in the mirror you get
ready to walk out the door. Now, are you really going to
NOT cover up all that investment of time, money and effort
with some kind of protection from the elements?
ask yourself these simple questions. Are you a performer
or an exhibitionist? Are you a professional or simply an
attention getter? If you are truly a professional performer
who wants to be treated as such, then wearing a cover-up
is as much a part of your costuming as your actual costume.
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
Ethics of Fusion by Naajidah
the culture that you’re borrowing your moves
from objects to your fusion, does it matter? Are you being respectful
or exploitative if you borrow steps from a culture that doesn’t
want their music and dance used that way?
For One, Two very different DVDs on Turkish Dance reviewed,
DVD review by Surreyya
I Love Turkish Dance by Sarah Skinner & Turkish
Style Belly Dance by Elizabeth Artemis Mourat
Dance: Secrets of the Professionals Book reviewed by
Paco Sevilla, one of the foremost flamencologists, writes nearly an encyclopedia
and professional reference book for the ambitious dancer let alone, flamenco
enthusiast, musician or dancer.
Report from the Dance Gig Front by Surreyya Hada
After a pause, and a little embarrassment, I threw my
hands up at him in disgust and walked away. The audience laughed
Taking It to the Next Level by Piper
people think that performing is a way for egotistical show-offs
to get attention. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A
true performer entertains her audience, doing her best to make
sure everyone is having a good time. What could be more generous
Bay Bellydance Bazaar by Aziza! photos by many
including: Aziza!, Carl Sermon and others, Santa Rosa,
were workshops all day (taught by Theresea, Susu Pampanin, Magidah
and Hannah Romanza), a large bazaar, all-day dancing performances
and an evening gala show. Everything a dancer could want.
Holidays, A Dance and Culture Camp in Tunisia Report
and photos by Denise Leclair
do you judge a dance trip? Would you go back next year? …in
a heartbeat. Damn the cost and mercury retrograde and the heat.
It was that good!