Friday, May 13, 2011


The articles on identifying the different styles of belly dance have been postponed temporarily, but they will return!

Currently, I am in the midst of a conceptualizing, choreographing and costuming frenzy, preparing for my May and June 2011 shows at Tribal Fest in Northern California, Fes-Tribale in Quebec, Canada, and ABS-Fest in North Carolina. I have been working on a fantasy piece, with a sort of Art Nouveau, slightly Noire feel.

The music and dancing are set, but costume I'm making for these performances is taking a lot of time...with all the detail and time going into this, I'm beginning to realize that I am certifiably insane! The inspiration for this costume comes from some of my favorite influential sources, artists whose work I have always admired, as far back as I can remember. They are Leon Bakst, the celebrated costume and set designer for The Ballets Russes De Monte Carlo, famous artist and fashion designer Erte, and incredible artist Alphonse Mucha. All of them were famous during the Edwardian period, at the turn of the 20th Century.

Though the costume isn't based directly on the work of any of these artists, I have always been drawn to their aesthetic, even as a child, and sometimes get up from my constant sewing and rhinestone affixing to look at their paintings and sketches.

My costume is all black overlaid with gold lace, decorated with rhinestones and turquoise. Some of the long, teardrop-shaped beads used on the belt and armlets are actually antiques from the Edwardian period. They are milky turquoise Peking Glass, set in ornate brass caps, which originally had real peacock feathers glued onto the bead-caps. Some of the beads still have the remnants of the peacock feathers on the bead-caps, but most have worn off due to age.

I have hoarded these beads for over twenty-five years. In the 1980's, I snuck into what was left of Howard Hughes' movie studio
after the demolition ball had done it's duty. Walking among the wreckage, I found many of these beads ( in various colors- like pink, cobalt blue and clear olive green) among the rubble. I am not sure if they were used for costuming or jewelry- I think they may have been beads made for lamp fringe. When I found them, they were still sewn in rows onto crumpling, yellowed paper. Of course, I needed to rescue them!

This costume has taken who-know-how-many-hours of sewing, but it's almost finished...actually, i need to get back to it right now!

No comments:

Post a Comment