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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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Technique, Practice, & Performance

Learning the Art of Veil: Essential Tips for Beginner Belly Dancers

Although only introduced to Belly Dance in the last one hundred years, the veil is nonetheless an important tradition in American Cabaret. The image of a dancing girl with a veil dates back to the times of the ancient Romans, and is perhaps an inspiration for this art form.

As you will soon learn, the veil tends to have a mind of its own. It is sometimes unfaithful to even the most experienced dancers. Here are a few tips to help make your first experiences with a veil enjoyable:

How to Belly Dance with a Veil - Ananke

Selecting a Veil

Fabric: Choose a fabric that is light and loose such as silk or chiffon. Remember, each fabric will behave differently in the air. Some movements are better suited to certain types of fabrics

Size and Shape: The standard size is approximately 2.5 to 3 yards, rectangular shape. This is the easiest to work with, although some dancers prefer circular veils or different lengths.

Preparing to Dance

Environment: The veil may not perform well in certain environments. Windy weather may interfere with outdoor performances. Watch for low ceilings, lights, or other potential snags.

Hold: Be sure not to grasp the veil in a tight fist. Instead, interweave the fabric between the extended fingers.

Posture: Remember that the veil is often used to accentuate the body lines created in dance. Concentrate on maintaining clear lines through attention to proper posture, especially in the upper body.

Dancing with a Veil

Transitions: Do not rush the veil from one movement to another but allow time for the fabric to breathe. The appeal of the veil is in its interaction with the air, so exploit these transitions.

Variation: Play with different types of movements including spins, wraps, frames, and tosses to keep the routine exciting. Vary the tempo and the complexity, and do not forget to include regular dance movements.

Working through Mistakes

Keep Moving: Even when you have made a mistake or lost your grip on the veil, keep your feet moving while you work to find your place again. This keeps the audience from recognizing the error.

Let it Go: If all else fails, do not be afraid to toss the veil aside. You may pick it up later and continue dancing.

Where to learn some moves?

There are a lot of great resources available to you. There’s instruction on YouTube as well as DVD’s. And don’t forget your belly dance classes and workshops, too!