First, Find your own style.
Belly dancing styles have changed over the years and sometimes you can guess the decade of the photo of the dancer by the costume she’s wearing. The country also has influence on style from Egypt, Turkey, Morocco and from here with American Tribal Style.
People who are less familiar with the different styles tend to picture the Hollywood version of belly dancers. Straight gauzy skirts with slits for one or both legs, tops and belts with beads, coins and sequins. This dancer usually dances in night clubs and ethnic restaurants, often with a live band. Her props are usually zils, veils, and sometimes a sword. This is considered a Cabaret style dancer.
The tribal style influence on belly dance began fairly recently in the modern history of this ancient dance. American Tribal Style came out of California in the 80’s and changed the look of the dance in costuming and how it moves. This dancer usually wears very full skirts, often layers, over big poofy pantaloons, the belts and bras are made of tassels, fringe, coins, shells and big, clunky, jewelry. Many of these dancers also fancy big, colorful tattoos. When it was originally created it was for a synchronized group dancing together. Props can be the same as with the Cabaret dancers.
Country (Ethnic) Folk Dances – Full dresses, hips scarves, props – canes, pots and baskets
Modern Fusion- goth, dub step, hip hop, fantasy, steampunk
Dancers also find ways to save money on ready made or just finding their inner craftiness and create their own costumes.
Look for festivals, competitions, retreats and camps for more opportunity for shopping and demonstration of styles.
What is most comfortable for you? Sparkly, glitzy, leg showing Cabaret or more earthy, grounded and covered with tassels and big jewelry like tribal.
Other accessories – shoes, hair adornments, jewelry, make up, cover up, zil bags, drums, fans, veil poi, wings.