Ethnic Dance Expressions
School of Belly Dance
Gainesville, Florida
with Sallamah Chimera

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What to Wear for Belly Dance Classes

It doesn't cost much to get started in belly dance classes. Many of the things you will need initially, you already have in your wardrobe. Let's begin with the most important apparel and dance supplies.

The Five Most Important Items

Dance Attire
Unitard For your first few classes your major concern should be your dance attire. You need to wear form-fitting clothes, like a comfortable knit top and slacks or shorts, workout clothes or leotard and tights. Why? You need to see your muscles work and so does your teacher. If you are doing something incorrectly, you want your teacher to see it right away and help you. You also have to see your body so you can master the dance isolations. Therefore, baggy clothes won't work. Skirts are not recommended either because your leg, knee and foot placement and alignment is important.


Hip Scarf
HipSash The next most important item you will need is a hip sash or scarf. This helps you isolate your hips from your waist and torso. It also makes noise and motion to help you and your teacher see and hear the direction and accents your hips or dance movements are making. Look in your closet or check out our boutique for a hip scarf!


Foot Wear
DncSandals While you can dance barefooted, at EDE we recommend that our students bring a pair of socks for their feet to help them execute turns and pivots. Bare feet perspire and tend to stick to the floor. Later, after you decide you are serious about dancing, you will want to purchase dance sandals to make dancing easier and to protect your feet during performances on concrete, asphalt, and rough wooden surfaces. You may also wear pink ballet slippers or tan jazz shoes. NOTE: If you have foot or ankle problems, shoes may be your first purchase so you can add arch and heel supports.


Finger Cymbals
FingerCymbals Sallamah provides finger cymbals, zills or zagats for her new students but they need to purchase zills for practice at home and for performances. We carry Turquoise Finger Cymbals because of their quality and to keep a uniformity of sound during our performances.


A Veil
VeilTribalDncr The last item is a veil, but you should to wait and find out what your instructor wants you to purchase since fabric, shape and size are important to the veil techniques she will teach you. There are rectangular, half circle, 3/4, cape and neck veils and they come in poly chiffon, silk, crystal organza, metallic lame' and other fabrics. Some teachers prefer not to have any trim on their veils and others will want a specific type such as sequins and beads, sequin rope, or metallic braids. Teachers also will tell you how long they want the veil. I recommend 2 yards and 5/8 inches up to 3 yard veil lengths depending on your height. There should be at least 8 inches extra on both ends of the veil when your arms are outstretched to their full length. This extra fabric provides enough veil for special wraps.


Other Belly Dance Supplies You Will Eventually Need
Insturments Music CDs for class and practice.
Dance Bag to carry all this lovely dance paraphernalia to class and to shows.
Videos or DVDs to practice technique and choreographies.
Costumes for performing (we have costumes for sale, costume sewing workshops, patterns, and workbooks.)
Specialty Items like a cane, sword, candelabra, fire pots or even a snake.
Musical instruments like a dumbek (drum) or a tambourine.
A cover-up or caftan to wear over your costume for shows.


Where to Purchase Your Belly Dance Supplies:

For your convenience, EDE carries quality belly dancing supplies at reasonable prices. We have dance sandals, a selection of hip scarves, zills, veils, CDs and DVDs, costume patterns, and new and gently used costumes. See our Market Place or visit the studio.

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We take clean, gently use costuming, zills, jewelry, music, veils and such on consignment. Check with Sallamah if you want to place your items at EDE.