Thursday, October 6, 2011

Online Resources for Belly Dancers

1. BellyTalk: This is a Yahoo! Group for greater Seattle area based dancers. Teachers post about new classes and workshops. Producers post about openings in hafla-style shows. As well as general announcements and discussions related to belly dance. One of the most memorable posts in the last year was famous dancer Tamalyn Dallal writing about her experiences in Egypt while the revolution was going on. Pretty interesting stuff. If you'd like to join, head over to the Yahoo! Groups home page. You'll need to create a Yahoo! email account if you don't already have one (it's free). Then search for BellyTalk and send a request to join.

2. eBay: One of the questions I'm asked most frequently is where is a good place to buy costumes, and my first response is always eBay. Whether a newbie dancer looking for something inexpensive or a professional dancer looking for a designer costume, this is my first pick. If you're just starting out, you can get hip scarves, veils, basic circle skirts, and other essentials at good prices. I've also purchased used designer costumes from other dancers, brands such as Pharonics of Egypt and Joharah, at a fraction of their original prices. A few tips for buying costumes online:
  • Know your measurements and know the measurements of the costume. However, even if the costume isn't your exact size and you simply adore it, know that most costumes can be altered (within reason), just be prepared to pay pricey alteration fees if you don't know how to do it yourself.
  • Read the descriptions carefully to make sure you understand what's included and what condition it's in.
  • Feel free to ask the seller to email you additional photos to better see the item.
  • Check the seller's rating and feedback to make sure they are reliable and their merchandise meets expectations.

  • Many of cheaper items are massed produced in factories in Asia, and there's nothing wrong with these items, in fact I have some myself. The purple costume in the picture above is one such costume and only came to about $130 for the belt, bra, skirt, and shipping (note that I did add a few extra rhinestones of my). However, if you want something more original, try searching for used costumes only and you'll often find dancers selling pieces out of their personal collections, which is how I got the fabulous pink costume below (the picture doesn't do it justice).
  • Understand the shipping prices and terms - if you need something right away you don't want it coming to you on a slow boat from China.

3. The Best of Habibi: Habibi was a print magazine dedicated to Middle Eastern dance that was published from 1992 to 2002. Just recently, the magazine created a website featuring some of its best content from its past issues. Great resource for dancers who want to lean more about the history of this art form, and the dancers who have shaped its evolution.

4. Saqra's Pacific NW Calendar: A local dancer, Saqra, keeps a comprehensive online calendar of monthly/weekly reoccurring belly dance events, one-time performances and festivals, and special workshops from visiting teachers for both the Seattle and Portland areas.

5. This is an online magazine with articles ranging from costume fashion trends and interviews with famous dancers, to book reviews and stage makeup tips.

6. I buy most of the music I use in my classes and performances from In particular, I like the Cd's by Belly Dance Superstars. (I would have listed their website, but their Cd's are generally cheaper on Amazon).

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