Where do you start with this genre? “Raqs Gothique” grew out of the Goth movement, which, over the years has embraced dark retro, punk, medieval, Victorian and “Steampunk” attributes. Then add bellydance to any of the facets of Goth culture and you get Gothic Bellydance, or “Raqs Gothique”.
In other words, there are almost as many versions of goth costuming as there are genres of bellydance itself.
Perhaps the best known Gothic style dancer is Tempest. She draws from all of the above styles with a dark and humourous twist — and she teaches a mean workshop on using film noir attitude in your dancing!
I have seen her dance in dark flapper attire with Doc Martin boots, pantaloons and lace in granny boots – and a very spooky Lovecraft inspired outfit.
Other Gothic dancers wear what could be mistaken for just dark colored bedlah of the Egyptian or Turkish varieties. Others use a dark tribal as a base — it’s really the mood of the dancing that makes something Gothic, rather than the costuming. (For example, Tempest’s ode to Theda Bara costume is white, but no les Goth for the color!)
Tempest’s 20s style routine to “Whatever Lola Wants”
Ariellah at Black Heart’s Ball…
For more, just search “Gothic Bellydance” on youtube and marvel at the variety!
Oh Dear! I seem to have lost track of this series of posts way back in May of 2008! My apologies!
Tribal style costuming, like “cabaret,” comes in many different flavors. Remember that there are always going to be variations, even with styles.
American Tribal Style
ATS, as created by Carolena Nericcio takes the standard vocabulary of bellydance and creates a strong, group-oriented vision. Troupes dancing in the ATS style often incorporate big swirly skirts, poofy cotton harem pants, velvet in black, rust or jewel tones, traditional Afghani coins, Indian embroideries, tassels and turbans. There has been movement over the last few years (decade?) to add woolen hair fals, hair picks with feathers and cowrie shells, and “hair gardens” which are full flower bouquets perched in braids and elaborate hairstyles, sometimes incorporating the bright wool hair falls.
I always find the various genre names a bit amusing — ATS is also a fusion form in many ways. Tribal fusion, World Dance fusion are all variants from the ATS branch of the bellydance tree. These are NOT always danced as a group, very often there is choreography involved, and costuming can go from basic to very far-out. Because tribal fusion is so personal, as is the costuming choices, I’ll take three fusion dancers’ styles and give examples:
Rachel Brice uses cowrie shells, tassels, flare leg pants and panel skirts to create her signature look. This look has been adopted by many of the fusion dancers – it’s very striking.
Donna Mejia‘s costume choices have been simpler, at least in the locations I’ve see, but in combination with her orientale/electronica/hip hop/Brazilian fusion moves are no less striking.Be sure to explore her site and her videos as well as gallery. She is an amazing, strong dancer with roots in many worlds.
< a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RtFgo2-NWk” target=”_blank”>Donna Mejia video
Dalia Carella, who may well be a bad choice to label “tribal” fusion, though her World Dance form is definitely fusion, leans more to simple reflections of the forms she is fusing. Huge skirts stand in for flamenco dresses, heavy veils for Indian influence. There is definitely a reason she played the part of Ruth St-Denis off Broadway!
Just a taste – right at the beginning…
I love the individuality of the fusion world. I love the options and the mis-and match mindset. I love coins and cowries – but I miss the beads if I’m performing in these styles. Which leads me to the cosumint/performance style known as “tribaret.” Take the fusion form, and then fuse *it*to what I earlier called Cabaret. Glitz and coins and shells! What more could a girl want? If the baroque era of gilt and overkill had produced a bellydance form (hah!) this would be it.
So there’s my homage to the coins and velvet and fusion of world dance. In later parts, we’ll go over Raqs Gothique, and I still promise a few beading techniques outside of my bedlah series! (the bedlah is progressing. Really it is. Just very very slowly as I have other projects that are more pressing right now…)
So I have, theoretically, been building a turquoise bedlah, as several past posts have demonstrated. Right now, however, it’s stalled.
The fabric is over the bra, I’ve got the base shape for the belt found, but not cut out, and I’m supposed to be stitching the sequins onto the bra. But I just haven’t’ been able to bring myself to do it. It’s not like it’s all that difficult, either – or maybe it is. I’m a perfectionist. Spacing of sequins is NOT a perfect science. Nor is it supposed to be. They are, in this pattern, just supposed to cover the silly thing and sparkle. But I keep expecting more – mostly, I think, because I’ve been doing appliques so much. And it’s driving me batty.
I am still building the turquoise bedlah – really I am!
But I got a reprieve as far as time goes because my troupe was asked to perform a specific routine at the show at the end of February. With everything that’s gone on in my life since Thanksgiving, I can’t say I’m sorry about that!
However, I was also included in the lineup as a solo act, which meant making sure my costume worked – I really don’ t like how my gold bedlah fits over the hips, so I chose a red bra I made a while back and a hip scarf. This is a great idea. But I have a caveat for those of you thinking about making one of these – OK, a couple of caveats.
If you are using gimp and /or pre-beaded ribbon to cover the cups, it WILL take more yardage of both than you think it will.
If you are using the pre-beaded decorator ribbon, run a sturdy thread through all the beadwork and knot each fringe individually! This stuff is not made to suffer the forces placed on it by sharp pops and shimmies, no matter how pretty it is – and reinforcing it will still be faster than making it new.
The Bra in question.
That second point is hard-learned for me. I put this read and black tribaret bra together in a hurry two years ago – and this year I went back and re-stitched all the fringe with a metal-core thread. I’ve only worn it once and already the threads in the fringes were breaking.
Doing this would have been much easier to do before it was stitched down to the bra in rows. Keeping the thread from wrapping around the other rows of fringe is a huge production! Ah well, learn something with every project! (And every performance… that story to come…) With this bra I thought I was also going to learn to pad the cups: but I ran out of time. I’ve shrunk since I’ve made it, though, so I ended up stuffing them the old fashioned way – with socks.
OK. Now I’ve got a pattern. Time to create the buckram lining (or outer shell) Really, it can go on either side of the bra. I tend to put it inside since I a) line the bra with felt and b) like being able to bead into the foam surface and c) like that this keeps the foam outside a bit smoother. If you’re making a bra, play with it until you decide which you prefer.
Note: I’ve got a friend who just told me last week to Dispense with the buckram altogether and just coat the whole bra in Liquid Stiffy fabric stiffener. I haven’t decided how I feel about this idea yet. I may try it on one, but frankly, I sweat like a horse when I dance and always have, and I’d be afraid it would melt through the fabric in the heat. I’ll do a little more research and then report back on this idea! (I’ve used it in small amounts on my professional bedlah, though, so maybe it would be ok… that MUCH though… that’s what’s throwing me for a loop!
I cut my buckram out to match the pattern I made earlier, without leaving any seam allowance. You really don’t want any overlap or it gets too bulky (I’m bulky enough on my own…). I have NEVER had this actually be completely accurate. I whipstitch the buckram together along the seam line in the middle, and then stuff it into the bra cup and baste it down with big basting stitches so that it won’t shift.
Next part – covering the bra with pretty fabric!!! The fun part starts!