The art of belly dancing has through many centuries evolved as women evolve. This dance which is primarily designed by women, for women, and with women is constantly changing as influences of society and culture advance. Likewise, costumes have changed through the years.
Today, there are a variety of belly dancing selections and the costumes change accordingly.
The cabaret style of belly dancing is still popular. This is the mental picture when one conjures up the meaning of the belly dancer.
The Egyptian Costume:
There are two types of costumes which the dancer may use. If she specializes in Egyptian the traditional costume is a one piece fitted garment which is figure flattering from neckline to ankle.
The fabrics used are fancy fabrics of sheers, lame, satin, silk, brocades, and the new modern blends of synthetic fabrics which may be matte or shimmery. The costume may be highlighted with yards of sequins or trim dotted with rhinestones. Elaborate embroidery of gold may also be used.
The Turkish Costume:
The Turkish style of costuming usually refers to a two-piece garment. The bra and the belt are elaborately decorated with beads, trims, embroidery, or beautiful jewelry. The harem pant and the skirt are made of fancy fabrics and trimmed with bangles and beads.
The Turkish style allows for the abdominal area and the top of the chest to be exposed.
The American dancer ignores many of the Middle-Eastern rules of dance and will use these two different styles according to their personal preference.