Belly Bloopers… ACK!!
Belly dancing is fun… energetic… mysterious… and full of ways to embarrass yourself in public! In a world where glitter, eye lashes, jewels, safety pins, adhesive and sparkly bras collide, there’s a LOT that can (and will) go wrong. Often, with spectacular consequences!
Here are a few of the hazards & costuming strangeness of being a belly dancer (all pulled from personal experience).
1. Hair you GO! We’re not all born with strong, luscious locks of hair down to our waists. So what do we do? We anchor all sorts of stuff in our hair… including… well… more hair! I’ve seen dancers who wear “chopstick extensions”, flowers, and all sorts of things neatly tucked into their medium-length & long hair. And I’ve seen dancers with massive manes onstage, and then barely recognized them after the performance when they appear with short hair… both styles looking gorgeous in the same night! Once, I thought I’d be “Goddess-y” and attached a super-long faux ponytail to my “real” ponytail. (Did I mention my hair is fine in texture… and not really strong, by any definition?) The result of my experiment? Feeling my “faux-ny-tail” ooze off to one side of my head, while trying to roll my head around during my performance… AND it was captured on FILM! (NO, I won’t be sharing THAT…)
2. Bindi boogers! Let me warn you… any substance that is designed to hold something sparkly & unnatural onto your face, is NOT easily removed by just wiping your mug with a tissue or mild soap & water. And the larger the bindi, the more forehead acreage you must devote to the adhesive. If you have sensitive skin like I do, then you try not to scrub the hell out of it all the time. However, red skin is better than the gooey alternative. There’s nothing… NOTHING… remotely attractive about having what appears to be dried snot smeared between your eyes! Or, in my case, smeared between your eyes, running up your forehead, over the tops of both eyebrows AND in the inner and outer corners of both eyes. Even better? Leaving the substance on your face and then sleeping on flannel pillowcases… waking up with a bizarre bindi ghost-pattern of fuzz on your head. Thankfully, my husband has a sense of humor…
3. Harem (de)pants! I do love the silky, silky of those comfy harem pants. And as a “proper” belly dancer, I always anchor my costuming with lots of safety pins, in order to avoid any wardrobe malfunctions that could occur during vigorous shimmying. Now, when you’re dancing in 90+ degree weather and it’s humid, you try to think of what garments you can do without. In a gypsy-inspired piece that has lots of layers, there are only a few items you can spare. During one performance, I decided I would skip wearing those uncomfortable dance trunks. The proper sequence is: underwear, dance trunks, harem pants, underskirt, skirt, hip scarf. My improper sequence that day turned out to be: underwear, harem pants, underskirt (tangled in my shoes), skirt (stepped on during backward step) and OHMYLORD,MYBUTTCHEEKISOUT!!! Lesson learned? #1 – wear dance trunks! #2 – pinning heavy clothes to silky things doesn’t work!
4. (NOT) Batting those Eyelashes! Yet another adhesive-gone-wrong story. If that adhesive is strong enough to keep those bedazzled caterpillars called false eyelashes on your lids, then it’s probably strong enough to stick your eyelids to your eyebrows every time you blink. This makes your audience think you’re having some sort of seizure or facial tick when you’re dancing… just what you’ve always wanted!
5. Boobs, ahoy! So you think you’re safe because you use safety pins to keep that back strap secure on your beaded bra? You wear halter straps, so you don’t have to worry about having a “strap-mishap”? Your bras have TWO latches in front, so if one fails, the other will hold? Before you get too smug, let me tell you a tale of the belly dancer’s least-favorite superhero… Underboob! She frequently shows up (or down, in this case…) when you lift your arms in graceful glory a little too high… a little too quickly. If you’re more blessed in the chest area, then you’ll probably notice it right away and fix it. If you’re not-so-blessed, then it can be disastrous! Be sure to REALLY keep the under portion of the bra TIGHT against your chest. Yes, it’s happened to me (not a full unleashing, but still embarrassing). When it happened to a friend of mine, a customer told her “honey, your (word that rhymes with *kitty*) is hanging out!!” YIKES!
6. Hip-scarf weenies! You’ve seen them… a hip scarf tied in the middle, leaving the ends dangling in a place where a gal shouldn’t have anything “dangling”. Even MORE distracting if you have coins or beds on the ends… give yourself extra points if you’ve chosen a stiff fabric!
7. Overly aggressive pinning! Once, while in a hurry to get ready, I actually pinned my skirt to my muffin-bum. Not familiar with muffin-bum? It’s the fleshy part of the BACK of your hip… which apparently has no nerve endings.
Part 3 of Belly Ed will be posted in the next day or 2.