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  1. #1
    I could get used to this! Sarafina_M's Avatar
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    ATS Costume for beginner

    O.k. I have been trying to search as best as I can before posting this but I seriously think I am searched impaired.

    I have already checked out Shira.net and the advice on there is awesome but I would like to ask those on a more personal level if I may.

    I am still new to ATS dancing. I started taking it for a few months last year but had to stop due to reasons but I am starting to pick back up starting next month.

    Now, being a beginner, I do not plan to currently go out and spend money on a costume since I will not be performing anything for a good while.

    However, I do currently have a choli (just freshly made out of an old shirt! yay me!) that I will be using to practice in,
    and I have a 25 yrd. cotton skirt that I will be using (otherwise I cant see my movements at all because I have NO curves or hips or anything what so ever and that is the only way I can see me move lol.)
    and black yoga pants to wear underneather (i will invest in harem pants one day).
    I have a hip scarf but I hate it and the coins. Not to mention it doesnt look right on me.
    I love authentic coins and the sound and these are aluminum.
    I have been looking for a good coin tribal belt. Now, I am tad confused on what would be good to use for me to not just practice in but hopefully one day use in a performance. I mean shuold I have one that dangles, or kuchi style, IDK what would be the best fit for me and my type for dancing.
    Also, how the sizing on these go because i notice that its 9 times out of 10 listed as a measurements. what exactly is being measured?

    I would like to get a coin bra but i dont think one at this time is necesary.
    Advice please?
    Last edited by Sarafina_M; 02-11-2010 at 10:38 AM. Reason: typos ftl


  2. #2
    Advanced BHUZzer CalgaryBibi's Avatar
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    Re: ATS Costume for beginner

    If you are dancing tribal, then when you start performing, your group (or your group director) will make a decision on costuming and will likely want some cohesion among the group.

    So, if I were you, I would hold off on getting any pieces for performance until you know what the group would be wearing (skirts? bloomers? melos? tassels? mirrors? fringe (rayon or wool yarn?) kuchi? triangle shawl? something else? some combination of the above?). When we are performing choreography in a show, with time for costume changes, our costume choice will be based on what suits the music/mood of the piece and the movements. A darker, slower piece would orobably not suit brightly coloured tassle belts, for instance. So, you could be wasting your money if you buy performance pieces now, without knowing what, or what colours, you will actually need.

    If you want something to wear to class, well, we usually wear Rosehips or a fringed, triangular scarf, but pretty much anything goes (EXCEPT jingly coin belts). If you really want a tassle belt to wear for practice, they are very, very easy to make. I made one, and my sewing skills are very limited. There are some basic instructions here: How to Make a Tassel Belt | eHow.com as well as many other sites online. (Note: I used thick cardboard, about the size of a CD cover, to wind my yarn around to make my tassles.) I found a tapestry-looking window valance on clearance for $5 and made the base out of that. I edged it with a little bit of coordinating trim that had tiny tassels, and I attached my homemade tassels to it. I don't have a closeup pic, but you can see it in action in this video: [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1BJ2Ofe0cI]YouTube - Renaissance Feb 2009[/ame] I'm the one in the light pink skirt who leads in from the left, at the beginning. Anyway, this belt was cheap and easy to make. It cost me around $15. So, if you want to make something like that to use for now, it won't be a big loss should your troupe decide to go with a different type of costuming when you perform.

    Also, I know that The Costume Goddess is coming out with a book on tribal costuming soon. I'm sure she'll announce it here when it's ready. You might find that helpful, too.


  3. #3
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: ATS Costume for beginner

    I suspect this is partially a decision made as a troupe. Some groups are very informal and like a lot of variety, so you would be free to choose whatever style you like. Others are more rigid in their costuming.

    A lot of the coin bras on the market are lightweight costume stuff from India. Occasionally you come across something Kuchi or vintage that has the heavier coins, but otherwise, dancers who want real coin costumes often make them themselves or commission someone to make a custom piece for them. You might try looking on Etsy for ideas. They have bras with real coins, but some of them don't look like real costume items (they look like someone went to the store, bought a normal bra, and sewed some stuff on it), and you'll want to stay away from that style since it screams "amateur".


  4. #4
    Ultimate BHUZzer steffib's Avatar
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    Re: ATS Costume for beginner

    I know that this is not what you want to hear, but a good strategy is to put aside money every month so that you can invest in a good piece that will serve you for many years once you start performing.

    And, to be honest, I do not think that a big fluffy skirt is a necessary or particularly good choice for practice, whether it is ATS or oriental. You can not see what your legs do.

    I also concur with the advice to hold off on costume investments until you are ready to perform, so that you can purchase pieces that will match the overall look. Even though people often think of an ATS "uniform", there is considerable space for groups creating their own look, e.g., whether one goes with tassel belts or coin belts, or what choices one makes with respect to color.

    Most importantly - no matter what you wear, have fun. ATS gals laugh and smile a lot when they dance!


  5. #5
    Ultimate BHUZzer lizajuk's Avatar
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    Re: ATS Costume for beginner

    It is necessary to have the skirt for practise..not every class/practise but as much performance relied on skirt moves you need to rehearse them.
    If you are talking a performance costume (which I assumed) , you have the basics in the 25 yard skirt and the choli. The rest can be got together for a reasonable cost. A fringed shawl for the hips. Flying Skirts Tribal BellyDance Costumes: Welcome to Flying Skirts Tribal Belly Dance Costumes have some gorgeous ones in jewel colours for 19$ and they are of lovely quality. You can make your own bra. Make sure you get a "smooth" firm cupped one and reinforce the straps so you eliminate any "boing" factor. Cover with something like stretch velvet to hide the lingerie fittings...a nice long tie to make a bow can succesfully so that on the back strap then decorate with cowrie shells / kuchi /shisha mirrors whatever. Amazing what you can do with buttons and broken jewellery that you .
    Warning : make sure that you do cover well..I've seen troupes just wearing a black T shirt bra with a few adornments and guess what it looks like you are dancing in your underwear.Look for examples you like on the net. Another good cover are pieces of assuit. Nice cotton and silk scarves for wraps or flowers for a flower garden hair look.
    And bloomers..look for second hand or on sale flying skirts ones or pop off to a good Asian and somesuch textile emporium and find 60" wide material. It's so easy to make bloomers..lots of advice on the internet. Or a cheap sari makes lovely bloomers.


  6. #6
    Official BHUZzer AllyisLuma's Avatar
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    Re: ATS Costume for beginner

    99% of ATS costuming is DIY. If you want a good belt and bra - it's more cost effective to make one.

    You can get kuchi knick-knack pieces from eBay for nothing. I made my favorite ATS belt out of a roll of banjara trim, a chocker that was made with dangly kuchi pendents, and then made my own yarn tassels. I sewed two disks onto the fronts to accent hip movements. The belt costs me about 30 dollars all in all. I got the trim for like 6 dollars, the choker was 15, and yarn isn't costly.

    Honestly, the biggest cost with ATS costuming is the accessories. So pick them up here and there. New choker here, new necklace there, new cuffs when ever..

    I just wouldn't go all out until you start dancing as a group because of the uniform factor. Our troupe keeps it basic. Black choli (we don't even do the coin bra), tassel belt, hip sash (non-coin) and a 25 yard skirt of your choosing.


  7. #7
    I could get used to this! Sarafina_M's Avatar
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    Re: ATS Costume for beginner

    I'm not looking to build a costume for performing but a costume to practice in so I can see how I will look in an actual performance, when or if that day comes. lol. I know how troupe costuming is, so I dont want to invest a lot into a costume for it to all be useless later but I would like basic pieces to practice in.

    I choose to wear a skirt because if I dont, my body literally shows basically no movement what so ever but when the skirt is on, its a HUGE difference, not to mention has prevented some injuries of trying too hard to shake my body lol. Not to mention they are encouraged to be worn in class.


    Please keep in mind, I am starting back up in class. I am not in a troupe.

    But thank you thus far for the comments. Keep them coming!! :D


  8. #8
    Advanced BHUZzer CalgaryBibi's Avatar
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    Re: ATS Costume for beginner

    If your teacher encourages you to wear skirts in class, then by all means do so. However, I find this surprising, as most teachers I know want to see their students' feet and knees, to make sure they are executing the movements properly and safely. What some dancers I know do, especially those who are very slender and don't have a lot of hippage, is wear skirts tucked up, so that their knees and feet are visible. That might be an option for you until your movements get big enough to be seen on their own.


  9. #9
    Ultimate BHUZzer steffib's Avatar
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    Re: ATS Costume for beginner

    Hm, I have a bit of ATS under my tassel belt, and I feel that there is a big difference between wearing those awesome big skirts in performance and in practice that prepares for performance (you wanna know when you knock out your fellow dancers with your costume, hehe!) vs. practice that one does at home to in order to execute the moves correctly.

    I know that this may sound dramatic, but it is not - if you are in danger of injuring yourself trying to do the moves correctly (no matter what attire), you HAVE TO make sure you have a teacher who can correct you! And, even Carolena Nericcio herself on the FCBD DVDs Volume 1 and 4 demonstrates the basic moves in yoga pants only - these DVDs are a great investment, so much more important than any piece of costuming.


  10. #10
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: ATS Costume for beginner

    I don't think it matters what style of dance you're doing. A costume can accentuate movement, and a costume can be a prop (e.g., skirt dancing, some sort of sleeve embellishment that lends itself to veil-y things), but the costume isn't the dancer, you are.


  11. #11
    Advanced BHUZzer NazirahDances's Avatar
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    Re: ATS Costume for beginner

    Once you learn to do the moves well, and have them in your muscle memory, you WILL be able to see them, even without the skirt. I think, as I believe someone else mentioned, that at home you might be better off practicing in exercise wear because you will be able to see your progress better. (A moving skirt can be deceiving. . . you might or might not be executing a move properly to make it move. There is no mistaking whether its done correctly though, if you are watching yourself do it in yoga pants.)

    Its harder for slim dancers to make the moves really show sometimes, but it can and will happen when you work on it! :-)


  12. #12
    Advanced BHUZzer NazirahDances's Avatar
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    Re: ATS Costume for beginner

    Also want to add, that my favorite ATS pieces, in addition to the choli and full skirt, are belts like the one in the link below with a fairly simple kuchi belt over it:

    Flying Skirts Tribal Belly Dance Costumes: Short Fringe Belt


  13. #13
    Ultimate BHUZzer steffib's Avatar
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    Re: ATS Costume for beginner

    Oh, and once you have the extra cash accumulated for a nice belt, I really like the selection here: Tribal Bellydance Marketplace:: Tribal Textile Belts - TribalSouk.com :: Tribal Belly Dance Costume Accessories Not necessarily bargain choices, but in the long run, these high-end belts will be well worth the investment and will become a dancer's signature pieces. You measure where your skirt elastic sits, and the decorated part of these belts should be close to that. If the decorated part is a bit shorter, that's OK, because you will have to tie the belt anyways.


  14. #14
    Established BHUZzer yaalini's Avatar
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    Re: ATS Costume for beginner

    I can see practicing in a skirt for certain stuff (we do skirt work in our group improv, for example), but yeah, if you practice in the skirt all the time you may be relying on the skirt to convey movement you should be able to produce on your own.

    I second the tucked skirt with contrasting pants so your instructor can see what you are doing if you wear a skirt in class (the Moulin Rouge tuck is my fave).

    And I think I understand that you want to practice in a costume you may ultimately be performing in...but some of that stuff isn't the easiest to clean!

    Buy a simple fringe shawl, tie on side, tuck other side - then you have practice poofs to see what you're doing :-)

    Talk to your teacher about the belt - if you're gonna invest you may as well invest in something your teacher wants you to wear when it comes time to perform!


  15. #15
    I could get used to this! Sarafina_M's Avatar
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    Re: ATS Costume for beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by Shalimah View Post
    . What some dancers I know do, especially those who are very slender and don't have a lot of hippage, is wear skirts tucked up, so that their knees and feet are visible.
    That is exactly what I do :) I have the front of the skirt pulled up and back (probably hits thigh area) so a lot of the poof ends up being more in the back so I can see my leg and footwork.

    I dont rely on the skirt as whole to "show" movement but it helps me see the movement when I am practicing or in class as opposed to just a belt or hip scraf where it is very little movement visible.

    But thank you very much everyone for the help.


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