Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Stuff that Drives Me Batty... Etsy Bra Edition.

No matter your belly dance style, costumes should look like costumes, not underwear. Even if you're doing a vintage fusion piece with pantaloons and lace, it shouldn't look like you walked out of your 21st century door and forgot to put on a top.

If you're going to be selling costumes for any sort of profit, they really shouldn't look like you just glued a bunch of shit onto a bra you just bought.  No, seriously. This is not a look that's cute for anyone, no matter the age, skill level, or style of the dancer. Belly dance bras need to be covered. They need to not look like a bra you'd throw on to go to the store. The original straps need to be removed, as does the back.

Also, if there are no cups, it's not a bra. Sorry not sorry, even though there was some serious craftsmanship in that piece, but that item is a wraparound necklace at that point. Incidentally, (badly!) sewing a bunch of pop tabs onto a Woolworth's bra with the bow still on the center is not "chainmail."

What are you doing? What, what, WHAT ARE YOU DOING. Look at your life, look at your choices.

Finally, belly dance and burlesque are not the same thing. At one time, belly dance and burlesque were very strongly linked to one another, as belly dance used to be performed alongside burlesque performers (and in some cases still is). I'm the last person who has a problem with burlesque... I love a well-choreographed, character- and song-driven, decadently costumed performance by a sexy lady getting undressed. What I don't love is an inability in some people's mind to divorce a hip- and core-driven set of dance moves with stripping. Most belly dancers really don't like being compared to strippers (or sex workers), because it's an actual issue that's going on that affects the lives, livelihoods, housing, and stability of dancers worldwide.

So please stop trying to sell belly dancers pasties. We're not even legally forced to wear them anymore.

That's not to say that there aren't gorgeous, high-quality, delightful items available on Etsy from independent vendors and small businesses for belly dancers... it's just that Regretsy taught us there's a fair amount of crap one has to sift through, and it's just as true for belly dancing.

Friday, October 17, 2014

What Is Old Is New Again

It's funny to think that just six months ago, my class (myself firmly included) was all freaked out about our debut.

We planned and plotted, marked out exactly what we wanted to do, and we succeeded. Nobody passed out, dropped a zill, ran away, or quit. But we did pretty much know what all we were going to do to get from Point A to Point B to Point C to the point where we could leave. And it worked... we put on what I think is a solid performance (even though I fell off my heels and you can toooootally see it in the video.)

We're set to dance again, in about four weeks, and there has been none of this planning happening. Grace worked out a cool pass for trio, and we're going to do that, but beyond... it's basically "Okay, so the goal is to get X and Y to happen so Z can follow and then done. "Whatever, Grace, throw on Bay City Shimmy and we'll make it happen."

I have no idea what I'm going to be doing. And I'm not even worried about it.  We also have another dancer-only hafla coming up in a week, which will be fine too, because it's just a bunch of other ATS dancers getting together and doing a bunch of improv until our shimmies fall out. I'm even less concerned about that (more antsy because I have some jewelry pieces that were supposed to have arrived this week), because as long as I am a minimum level of socially acceptable, it will be fine. I just have to be nice to my other dancers and lead like a boss and follow like a soldier and it will be fine.

The reason I bring this up is because there are dancers in classes behind us that are making their debut! That is so very exciting and lovely... I volunteered to lead for them in case my other dance sisters couldn't make it to Belly Dance Wednesdays, because having gone through it myself, I know exactly how it feels when you're about to put something you've nurtured and worked at and prepared on display, for everyone to see and judge and LOOK AT. Staggering. Nerve-wracking. Exhilarating. Exciting.

Did I mention I'm also a high anxiety person?

But between the performances, and the practices, and just getting more comfortable in my own skin, suddenly I feel that anxiety beginning to slip. I'm not there to be dramatic, I'm there to help the baby dancers get up to toddler, and to grow myself to a child dancer. Belly dance is making me fearless.