Quick Change Tips for Bellydance Costumes
Recently I was in a bellydance show and performed 2 numbers close together and was a lot slower than some of the other dancers changing. I was wondering if you could offer some tips in a Friday DBQ on quick costume changes.
Been there – done that. It’s stressful – and stress is the last thing you need when you want to take the stage with calm, cool and collected confidence. A dancer can use all the help she can get, so for this very critical question, I asked an expert – Rukshana, lovingly known to the DBQ community as “The Costume Fairy”. Not only is Rukshana a genius bellydance costume designer and seamstress, she has had a long career in professional theater costuming. In short, she knows all the backstage secrets and she’s sharing them with us here!
The Costume Fairy says….
Fast changes can be done super fast if you take the time to prepare a proper set up. It’s even faster if you have a helper. Here are some tips to prepare for a smooth quick change.
- “Rig” your jewelry. Use magnets or Velcro closures on necklaces. If you aren’t fast with pierced earrings, find clip-ons or convert the pierced earrings to clips. Check the jewelry findings area in your local craft store or shop on line. If you add a piece of double stick toupee or Hollywood tape to the clips they have added security.
- Preset your costume on a chair in the reverse order you would put it on. For example– bra on the bottom, then belt, skirt. Put any shoes under the chair. Jewelry can go under the bra or next to your shoes, depending on the space and size of the accessories. I like to have a clean sheet under the chair so I can drop the costume I’m wearing without worrying about it getting dirty.
- Rig closures for speed where applicable. You are not going to Velcro a bra or belt, but you can use a skirt with elastic or use a zipper instead of a row of hook and bar closures. Big hooks and bars on a bra or belt are better that multiple small ones as a closure. Size matters!
- If you can attach the skirt and belt this also may increase speed.
- If you are wearing a belly cover have your bra attached at the front to it so you have fewer attachment points to secure it to the bra or use clear elastic straps to hold it up.
- It’s faster to have a designated belly cover for each costume than to change them. Sometimes you can even rig your skirt to the cover and bra with some stitching or snaps.
- Practice the change! Do a couple dry runs where you figure out what placement works best for you. Then run it for speed. You need to know how much time you have between songs. A minute is a long time if you have everything prepped and ready.
- See if you can arrange to have a dresser back stage. Their job is to facilitate the change. This person needs to be calm and cool under pressure. You don’t need someone high strung rushing you. A good dresser will help as needed and keep you moving and out of panic mode if something is not going as planned.
- Set up your change as close to the stage as possible. Garment racks with sheets thrown over them can form a small quick change booth in a pinch. Walled pop up tents work great too.