Belly Dance Costumes, A Rich Source of Creative Inspiration for Doll Making
Tribal Fusion Belly Dance Costumes
Have you ever taken the time to fully absorb all the beautifully intricate details found in a tribal fusion belly dance costume? A couple of years ago, I became completely obsessed with these magnificent costumes, which I believed could be celebrated as art forms in their own right.
One of my previous posts titled, ‘Creative Journey from hoop dance to rockabilly’ explained how I discovered these incredible garments. In this post, I would like to share with you just how these costumes played a key role in inspiring the look of my most recent art textile OOAK dolls.
A Rich Tapestry of Texture and Colour
As a textile artist, I am deeply drawn to the rich tapestry of textures and colours that have been selected to create each unique costume. Most of all, how individual outfits are successfully woven together. For me, this indicates a sense of history. Generations of women lovingly shared the sensual moves of this dance form. Yet in addition to this, something much deeper has also been passed on. Choices of collated fabrics and embellishments pay homage to the lineage of cultures that have contributed to the evolution of this genre of dance.
My hobby of hoop dance introduced me to tribal fusion. In turn, this led me to discover the earlier belly dancers from the Vaudeville era in early twentieth century. Vaudeville was a form of entertainment in America that included a range of quirky acts including mysterious, exotic belly dancers. Recent contemporary dance troupes such as The Indigo, founded by renowned tribal fusion dancer and pioneer Rachel Brice, borrowed many costume ideas from the earlier vaudeville performers.
Key stylistic details include layering jewels such as cowrie shells and beads upon luscious drapes of fabric on the lower half of the body are common elements the modern tribal fusion costume. Many dancers, like Zoe Jakes, now include even more extravagant accessories like antlers or large organic forms from plant structures to enhance visually exciting headdresses.
The inclusion of antlers helped to bridge the gap between my obsession with belly dance costumes with my passion for the natural world. I had been searching for a more whimsical solution. And as a result, I felt that I could finally tap into a more ethereal realm. To connect the story of supernatural beings with the long-held tradition of folk dancing.