Monday, January 17, 2011

How to Shop for a Costume on the Web

Or: how NOT to go broke and/or crazy in the pursuit of the perfect costume

First, before ANYTHING else, WHY do you want a costume?

Is there a special event? What is the event? Who is your audience? What type of venue?

Are you performing at a hafli?
If you’re performing at a hafli, and don’t already have a costume, chances are you are a new performer of Middle Eastern Dance. On the other hand, chances are also that your audience will be other dancers, of mixed levels and abilities.

Arguably, the most difficult audience to dance for. There will be dancers who know Middle Eastern dance AND music. There may be members of the general public scattered here and there in the audience.

What is your intention? Mainly, of course, to provide a good show, to learn something but above all to DANCE and to have fun. Do you need a high end blinged out costume for this?


Does that mean that you shouldn’t have one?

Also, no.

What it does  mean is that you really shouldn’t spend the money on one as the high end blinged out costumes are a business expense. Seriously. You buy them as a business expense, the depreciate over time and one should reasonably expect to gain a return on the expense. Which you will not do in a hafli.

Can you perform at a hafli, dance and have fun without one? Of course you can.

However, costuming is half the fun of this dance form. So what does it mean?

Well, let’s take a look at haflis, shall we?

Most of the time, haflis are put on by teachers who are looking to promote the dance, provide a place for their students to perform and a place to entertain themselves and others.

A teacher could arguable use a hafli as a vehicle to showcase a professional costume and make a return off of it, thus validating the purchase.

A student, or non pro could use this opportunity to showcase newly learned skills and to practice performing for others. Costumes for this should be above all, well fitting.

However, that means having a modicum of ability to alter anything that you buy.

What are good hafli costumes?

Well, again, it depends. Above all, the costumes should showcase YOU as the dancer.

Most often, your dance style will dictate what your costume is based on. Tribal dancer? Caberet? Oriental?

Doesn’t really matter, if your style says you wear a minimalist costume, well, that’s what you go for: if it’s an ornamented accented style, well that’s what you go for.

Since this is taking much longer than I expected, there is a part II. Probably III… and yes, probably IV…

What? Costuming is important!!!

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