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Oh, hello there! I hope you all had a happy Halloween, and no, this isn’t what I wore trick-or-treating. For the past year, I’ve been dancing with Pandorium Belly Dance Company. Growing up, I took jazz, tap, and ballet, but I stopped when I started high school. Flash forward about 20 years, I started attending belly dance classes for exercise and friend time, never thinking I’d perform. My dance teacher and buddy, Jacquie, had other plans, and now with a couple of shows here and there under my belt, I’ll be dancing at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival (LARF) for the next six weekends!
Being plus sized, I had all the reservations you’d probably expect getting involved in a form of dance with “belly” in its name. After all, my midriff hadn’t seen the light of day since I was a toddler, but my friends and fellow dancers are super supportive. Also, the body-positive blogging movement and plus sized dancers, yogis, and athletes have changed the way I think about myself and what I’m able and “allowed” to do. Dancing, or doing anything active or fun, shouldn’t only be a privilege for those who have so-called perfect bodies. In Pandorium’s troupe, we’re all different and awesome in our own ways. We even have one male dancer among us. What we have in common is that we love this beautiful, historically rich form of dance.
Let’s talk costumes…and bellies! I feel the same way about a dancer showing her belly as I do about someone deciding to wear shapewear or a bikini–whatever you decide, it’s all good. Sometimes I show my belly, sometimes I don’t. It’s as simple as that, and I don’t try to over-analyze it.
Larger plus size costume pieces can be difficult to find; however, many belly dance skirts are truly one size fits all, especially a 25-yard skirt like the one I’m wearing above. My size 2 friends can wear the exact same skirt. Most online shops are give great details and measurements so you can know exactly how much stretch to expect in the waistband, and as you can see, there’s plenty of fabric!
In my size, I’ve had difficulty finding belts and bras. I finally found a couple of good hip scarves, like the one I’m wearing here, online. My bra is a total craft project where I glued on some gems and sewed on a medallion. Our whole troupe is a bra-blinging collective and many of us design parts of our own costumes. There are also a few Etsy sellers who custom make bra and belt sets. Some are more pricey than others, but they are definitely worth checking out.
Let’s not forget about a cute practice outfit:
Allow me to introduce you to a new friend of mine. All belly dancers name their scimitars, and I call mine Cleo. We’re still in that getting-to-know-you phase–and she can be a bit of a rebel, but she’s learning how to be a team player.
Along with LARF and an evening Day of the Dead performance, I’ll be one busy belly girl this weekend! I hope to have some wonderful pictures and video to show you all once faire season is underway. Until then, thanks and keep dancing!