‘Till Death Do Us Part

One of the most enjoyable aspects of bellydancing is the costuming.  While it’s true that you can bellydance wearing everyday clothing or exercise gear, half the fun is dressing up in the belly dance costume style of your choice.  Most bellydancers lovingly put together their costumes, either by making the costumes themselves, or purchasing them.  Either way, usually a lot of thought goes into the choice of style, color, jewelry, and fit.

Once a bellydancer completes her costume, she dances in it for a while and then may eventually sell it or give it away.  However, most bellydancers have favorite costumes that mean a lot to them and these are the ones that they keep.  These are the costumes that make a dancer feel especially attractive, glamorous, and exotic.   Just looking at them can bring back memories of the wonderful experiences she has had dancing in them.  They are a beautiful reminder of her participation in this ancient and artistic tradition.

Therefore it shouldn’t have been a surprise to me, when on a number of occasions, I contacted retired bellydancers about selling their costumes and was turned down flat.

This has occurred when students or friends have asked me to inquire about purchasing used costumes for them, especially the fabulous metal belts and accessories from Cost Less Imports*. I have contacted bellydancers that I knew were no longer active in the dance.  There were even occasions when I talked to elderly dancers who informed me that they were sick with terminal illnesses.  None of them could bear to part with their belly dance treasures!

I’ve discussed this issue with other bellydancers and they all express the same sentiment.  Whether they are dancing or not, they don’t want to part with their favorite belly dance costumes.  Some wish to pass them on to their family or friends, but mostly they want to hang on to this special part of their life and what it represents.  I understand it perfectly – no matter how old or infirm I may become, just looking at my belly dance costumes will always bring a smile to my lips and a wiggle to my hips.


* (Starting in the 1960’s, Cost Less Imports made hand crafted metal belly dance belts and accessories made of authentic coins, Swarovski crystals, mirrors, and semi-precious stones.  They are no longer making these items, so if you want any, you have to pay a premium for the few they have left in stock at www.costlesscostumes.com, or find used ones.)


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