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What Do Audiences Expect in a Costume?


As you well know, your skill as a belly dancer is not dependent on your costume. You probably wear yoga-style gear for practice because it's comfortable. Likely you wrap a scarf around your hips to observe the movements and because it's fun. However, that, of course, is not appropriate for any kind of performance.

The Bra

Audiences expect sparkle, and they're especially going to expect it in your top. A belly dance bra covered in sequins, beads and coins is a classic. Such designs are very beautiful and attractive to any body type.


Belly dance bras for costumes come in sizing similar to your regular bra. You choose the rib cage and cup size.

If it feel like the bra is very exposing, you have several options. One is to order the proper rib cage size but go up a cup size for more coverage. Another option is to wear a keyhole U-top with the bra. This design covers more of your torso while still exposing your beautiful bra. Another option is to wear belly dance sleeves.

In Egypt, it is forbidden to show the naked torso during performance. Therefore, belly dancers in Egypt wear a flesh-toned body suit. You could always opt for this traditional practice for more coverage.

The Belt

Just like audiences are expecting sparkle on your bra, they're expecting your hips to be similarly accented. After all, belly dance is really a manipulation of the hips for many moves.

One way to adorn your hips with sparkle is to wear a belly dance belt. This is a wide swatch of fabric that encircles your hips and is covered in beads, sequins and coins. It's like the professional version of a hip scarf. Many belt designs feature additional sparkles in the form of dangling beads or coins that can even reach all the way down to your knees.


The Skirt

Most belly dancers wear a billowy skirt during performance. This helps conceal the positions your knees and ankles need to get into to make the hip moves possible. Some like to wear skirts all the way down to their ankles, while others choose for shorter varieties.

Quite often the skirt serves as a complement to a belly dance belt. However, some costume sets use a skirt in place of the belt. In this case, the beads and sequins are applied directly to the skirt around the hip area. This often results in a more cohesive look, and many pro costumes are designed this way.

The Headpiece

It's not necessary to wear anything on your head. However, your costume features a lot of sparkle and so draws a lot of attention. A headpiece draws similar attention to your beautiful face. It also makes your costume look more complete.

Most tribal belly dancers wear a turban-style headpiece on their heads. It usually covers most of their hair.

Traditional costuming can call for a simple headpiece such as a headband in fabric that matches the rest of the costume. However, more elaborate pieces are also possible, including feathers, sequins and hair jewelry.

So, what kind of belly dance costume would you want to wear for performance?

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