Halloween Hafla

Summer is finally leaving over here in The Netherlands and the chill of autumn is in the air. Falling leaves, hot chocolate… for the Dutch, it’s time to enjoy pepernoten, tidy up the garden and look forward to fall break. Or is it just me?

Halloween is gaining in popularity over here and I always wanted to do a Halloween themed bellydance party. When our last bellydance party was scheduled on October 5th, I figured it was close enough to Halloween to turn it into a Halloween Hafla! Just a few minor hiccups, including me being short on time and having to prepare the program, playlist, workshop and performance schedule. In the end it all worked out as I decided to make it a bit minimalistic.

Sara brought in black backdrops with white creepy animals. I did a bit of last minute Halloween DIY by cutting white paper in the shape of ghosts, orange paper in the shape of pumpkins and using a black marker to give them eyes and a mouth. As a good luck charm for the performers I drew pumpkin faces on mandarins.

For my own costume I reused whatever I had in my closet. A tiered skirt with shisha mirrors and sari border on the bottom, I quickly attached a coin and mirror bra cover to a black bra and added a black velvet wrap top for more coverage. The bra took me more time than I anticipated: about three hours. That’s because I sport a larger bra size these days and I needed to take the cover apart to fit it properly over the bra. The belt was even more work as it turned out to be a bit lopsided. This was to be expected as I bought it as a ‘flawed item’ and I got a really good price because of it’s flaws.

My solo was to ‘Black Magic Woman’ from Santana. Couldn’t find a decent witch hat so I had to do without. I am really pleased with the overall look of our group performance. Keep in mind that this is a student troupe that is not solely dedicated to ATS.

The workshop was well attended followed by four performances that all had a bit of a spooky accent. I say it was a success! I’m hoping to have a similar hafla next year, slightly bigger maybe.





I performed ATS again after twelve years of Egyptian and Turkish bellydance

Summer is really kicking off here. My last class was at the end of June and yesterday my students and I performed at the student recital of my friend Roos Belinfante. This year was extra special because it was my first semester of teaching after my pregnancy leave. As an extra challenge, I dedicated ten of the intermediate classes to learning American Tribal Style (ATS).

I am super proud of my students doing a completely improvised ATS performance after only ten classes of basic ATS. It was also a good occassion for me to get my tribal costume items out of the closet. If you have never seen an ATS performance or tried a workshop or class, I highly recommend it. It is a different, very structured dance form that utilizes belly dance moves and puts the movement in a different (completely made up, based on various cultures) setting.

Here’s a picture of me in ATS gear, taken in 2007. I made the bra, choli, headband, skirt and tassel belt.

It’s been roughly twelve years since I was part of an ATS group that practiced weekly. Teaching the material was a blast of the past. Ah, how young I was, how inexperienced in belly dance and how much time I had for sewing! Linking ATS to that time in my life made it an extra intense experience for me. Here’s a group picture taken before our performance last Sunday. How adorable are we? Can you guess how many items are made by me?

   I used the same skirt from the previous picture plus two more 26 yard skirts I made in 2005. For this occassion I made five wide headbands covered in velvet. The night before the recital was spent sewing leaves and flowers to my own headband on account of our daughter having a cold and waking up every hour or so. If I am going to be awake I might as well do something useful. Plus big head stuff distracts from the under eye bags.

The silver coin bra still fits with some adjustments. I had to remove the padding and change the straps because breastfeeding turned my B cup into a D.

What belly dance costume item has been in your closet for years?