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Costuming, Makeup, & Presentation Most Popular

10 Fun Belly Dancer Life Hacks

Isn’t it fun to learn tips and tricks that make life easier? This week I would like to share a few of my favorite “life hacks”- fun shortcuts using regular household items to solve everyday belly dancing dilemmas. We’ll learn quick makeup techniques, cheap ways to store costumes, and a few items that can make prop usage more simple. Get ready to say, “Aha!”

1. Wrap a few rubber bands around the end of a cane for easier twirling. It’ll help sweaty hands keep a grip. You can even match your cane with colored rubber bands, or through natural or artificial dyes.

2. Use a stripe of nail polish to mark the balance point on your sword. It’ll make transitions from balancing on one body part to another easier to judge.

Tips and Tricks for Balancing a Sword

3. Wear leg warmers bunched around your knees and ankles while practicing floor work.  A set for your ankles and another for your knees will act as padding when you practice a floor routine over and over. It helps prevent rug burn and bruising.

4. Place a strip of scotch tape before applying cat eyes for straight lines. Place the tape at the outer corner of your eye and then angle it up towards your eyebrow. Apply your liner and shadow as usual. Remove the strip when finished for a straight, crisp line. It helps prevent powder from falling down your face, too.

5. Use baby socks as zill mufflers. It’ll let you practice at home without driving your family crazy!

Tips and Tricks for Belly Dance Zills

6. Rub beeswax on the balancing point for your sword for better grip. Beeswax, golfer or bowler’s grip, or hair spray add tackiness to the edge of a sword and help prevent slippage.

7. Save the zippered plastic bags that new sheets come in for costume storage. Whenever you buy new sheets or curtains save those plastic bags! They are an excellent container for costumes, scarves, and jewelry. It’s easy to see what’s in them and the plastic is thick for protection.

Belly Dance Costume Storage Tips

8. Place a wine cork on the point of  your sword to protect you (and your floors!) if it falls. Beginning sword balancers may have a few slips when they first try dancing. Use a wine cork in the sharp end of the sword to protect you and your household.

9. Use colored thread to sew the elastic on zills for different fingers. You can use one color for thumbs and another for fingers so that it’s quick and easy to identify where to place them on your hands.

Tips for sewing the elastic on finger cymbals

10. Use vodka to remove stains and odors for costumes. A solution of water and vodka (I usually use half and half) is great for removing stains and odor from sweating. It’s gentle on fabrics that can’t otherwise be washed, such as hipscarves and costumes. Use a spray bottle and spritz, then let it air dry.

Tips for cleaning belly dance costumes

What are your favorite belly dance life hacks? Leave your tip in the comments below!

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Costuming, Makeup, & Presentation Most Popular

Hip Scarf 101: From Buying to Tying

Photograph by: D. Sharon Pruitt

So you probably had lots of good reasons for becoming interested in belly dance… it’s graceful, beautiful, and powerful. It’s great for burning calories and toning muscles. It teaches coordination and body awareness. It’s fun and exciting.

But I think we all have to admit that somewhere, deep down inside maybe, we were all pulled in at least a little by the glitter, the glitz, and the BLING!

So here’s your comprehensive guide to the most popular belly dance accessory, the hip scarf. Everything you need to know from buying to tying one (and keeping it up through those shimmies!).

Hip Scarf History

Coined scarves as a belly dance accessory were invented in the States sometime in the early seventies. They are not folkloric, but are instead a modern costuming element. Cabaret dancers generally wear scarves with coins, beads, and/or fringe. We’ll mostly be covering these in this guide rather than the wraps adorned with fringe, tassels, shells, brooches or talismans, feathers, and synthetic flowers that Tribal dancers often wear.

Selecting a Good Hip Scarf

  • Coins are sewn on with abandon! They should be plentiful and dense, sounding like a rain stick when you shimmy your hips.
  • Coins are relatively thick and heavy, not aluminum foil thin.
  • Seams are edged twice, threads holding coins are thick or doubled. The reason coins fall off prematurely is that their sharp edges can wear the threads out. Make sure they’ll hold up.
  • The fabric is of a decent weight and quality. Chiffon often lasts longer than velvet, which tends to stretch out.
  • Color is of course your choice and preference (but black or white tend to get boring).
  • Shape is also your preference, but rectangular ones tend to make hips look curvier and triangular ones less so.

Tying and Keeping it on

  • Hold the hip scarf at your waist from the top edge. Gather the fabric from the bottom up to the top. Tie in a double knot. Push the hip scarf down to you hips (tying at the waist and not the hips will keep it on through those shimmies).
  • You can tie it on the side or in the center, but most people prefer it over the right or left hip.
  • Layering a fringe scarf underneath your coin scarf provides even more color, texture, and movement to your look.

Caring for your Hip Scarf

  • Always fold the scarf with coins in to protect them from snagging.
  • Repair any loose threads, and re-sew loose coins when they fall (pick them up when it happens!).
  • You shouldn’t try to wash a hip scarf. If necessary, you can mist lightly with vodka and hang to dry. This should take out any odors caused by bacteria left from sweat.

My Favorite Online Retailers for Hip Scarves

Hope you found this helpful. Let me know where YOU like to get your hip scarves.