Mixing Faux and Modern Assiut

Swirl is my informal performance group composed of my proteges and myself.  For our spring performance at HaflAdira in Willow Glen, CA, we put together a set of coordinating costumes using a combination of existing costume pieces, faux assiut, and modern assiut.  Here’s how these costumes came together.

Pulling From the Closet

Before we started costuming, we decided to do individual costume inventories.  Zemira had this gorgeous black “Bessie” skirt from the Fat Chance Bellydance studio. in her collection and this was the perfect opportunity to integrate into our trio.  Vakasha owned a Melodia “Mythica” skirt in the black and silver colorway.  I have a Melodia skirt in the same fabric but in the “Cleopatra” cut.  Since these three skirts coordinated beautifully, we decided to use these as our starting out point saving us time and money!

To make a complete a head to toe costume, we decided to unify the look by using matching body stockings.  Zemira and I already had these in our wardrobe and Vakasha picked up hers from Dahlal International.

Faux Assiut from Melodia Designs

It became clear that we were going to have to craft a trio of bras to out of the glorious Melodia faux assiut fabric.  As a team, we invested in an Infinity Scarf to be our sacrificial garment.  I took this tube and cut it apart.  There was enough fabric to create all three bras with a significant amount of cloth left over.

Zemira also bought an Infinity scarf to wear as a hip treatment over her solid black skirt. Since her scarf didn’t have fringe, I elected to use a similarly shaped piece of modern assiut to echo the shape.  Vakasha used a pair of V-shaped assiut triangles for her hip treatment, and when viewed together, they worked in visual harmony.

Custom Bras to Coordinate

To craft our faux assiut bras, we began with underwire and padded bras either from our wardrobes or new from the store.  I really feel that it’s important to get the bra that really works not only for your size and shape, but also to give you the coverage and support that you are happy with.  No two commercially made bras are the same, and the only way to find one that works for you is to go shopping and try on a lot of bras.

Once the bras were in my workbench, I pieced the faux assiut fabric onto the cups, to create three different styles.  Each bra is laid out symmetrically, from different parts of the assiut pattern.  Before I sew, I pin both cups into place to ensure that they match as closely as possible.  Then I hand sew the fabric into place.

Embellishing with Saroyan Coins

Once the faux assiut was appliqued onto the bra bases, we decided to pull some silver coins from our collections.  Vakasha had some leftover Saroyan silver “Nefertiti” coins left over from a previous project. I had some “Venus” coins and together we pooled our resources and used what we had to embellish all three bras. These coins are currently discontinued, but there’s a small quantity left on the Saroyan website.  If they spark your interest, be sure to head over there soon before they are completely gone.

These costumes are comfortable, stylish, and were actually quite affordable.  I was so happy that we shopped our wardrobes and worked together as a team to create these ensembles that we can wear together or alone.  I feel like I have a new capsule wardrobe that I can use as a base to create a variety of different looks.  I’m excited to experiment with different options in the future.

Do you like these costumes?  Check them out in action below.  And remember, if you go to YouTube, be sure to like it if you like it!

Now, I’ve gotta get back to the studio to make another costume!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Monday, June 11, 2018

Watch Our Performance

Permalink: http://www.davina.us/blog/2018/06/faux-assiut/

120 Years of Belly Dance Costume

Mahin and One World Dance & Music Studio Present

120 Years of Belly Dance Costume Design

Digital workshop with Dawn Devine ~ Davina


Early Registration for Online or In-Studio Viewing: $15   After July 1st: $20
Reserve your ticket today!

120 Years of Belly Dance Costume Design is one of my favorite workshops to present. For the first time, I’m presenting this workshop to a worldwide audience! If you are interested in belly dance costume history, join me.  Grab a beverage and a snack and attend this workshop from the comfort of your own home.  I hope to see you there!

Workshop Description: 

This workshop will trace the evolution of belly dance costume over the past 120 years.  We’ll use the Chicago’s Columbian Exhibition of 1893 as our starting point.  That year, the US term Belly Dance was coined and a flood of performers arrived from the Middle East and North Africa to perform in the midways shows.

From this starting point, we will move forward in time. Discussing changes beyond the dance arts impacting the evolution of belly dance costume.  From technological advances in textiles, changes in entertainment venues, advertising methods, along paradigm shifts in the greater entertainment industry, we will trace this evolution in images and video.

This 90-minute workshop includes a digital handout. 
Sign up before July 1 for the best price.

Event Q & A:

As questions come via email, I’m sharing the questions and answers below.

Q:  I’m going to miss the lecture, can I watch a replay?

A:  Yes – but only if you buy your ticket before the lecture.  A replay will be available for all ticket holders for a month after the presentation for you to watch or rewatch.

Q:  How is this class being held?

A: This class is being shared via Zoom on the day of the event.  When you buy your ticket, you will receive an email with details on how to join the talk on the day of the event.
Hot Tip:  Download and install the Zoom conference software before the event.  It’s available for desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones.  Visit their website and follow the directions for your device.  

Q: How do I view the event replay?

A: Once the talk is over, Mahin will place the location in a private place and send you a link to view the presentation.  The link will be available for view for 30 days after the event.

Q: How do I buy a ticket?

A: This workshop is sponsored by my hostess Mahin of One World Dance and Music in Phoenix, AZ – You can follow this link and buy a ticket on the studio website.

If you have additional questions about this workshop,
feel free to email me and put “RE: Workshop Question” in the subject line!

This workshop is jam-packed with information for the belly dance costume enthusiast.  This is my passion and my life’s work and I’m so excited to be sharing it with you!

I look forward to seeing you at the talk!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Friday, June 8

Permalink: http://www.davina.us/blog/2018/06/120-years-of-belly-dance-costume/

Want a Sample of “Becoming a Belly Dancer?”

Last week the Belly Dance Business Academy celebrated its 2nd-year anniversary.  A big heartfelt congratulations go out to Terri Allred and her team who keep the Academy website up, running, and full of inspirational and information courses.

My co-author Sara Shrapnell and I both offer digital courses on the Academy website. We decided to meet up and chat about the birthday party, and how nice it would b to put together a nice thank-you gift for academy students.

After a coffee-fueled brainstorm, Sara came up with a great idea of offering a portion of our book, Becoming a Belly Dancer: From Student to Stage.  The full book is available on Amazon.com or you can get a personalized signed copy from my Etsy Store .

Sara came up with the concept of using a few pages of Chapter 7 of the Becoming book and create a mini-book or .pdf booklet entitled “The Little Book of Belly Dance Etiquette.”  I thought this was an amazing idea and I worked with her to pull out 17 pages from Becoming a Belly Dancer and create a free-standing booklet.  17 pages!!

The Little Book of Belly Dance Etiquette

Sara generously added this booklet to the free class offerings of the Belly Dance Business Academy, so if you are interested in our book, but want to check out this sample, you can visit the Academy website and enroll as a student.  ((NOTE: Enrolling as a student is free, and there are dozens of other valuable free courses on the site.))

My Current Academy Classes

When you have enrolled in the Belly Dance Business Academy, you will find a wealth of free workshops and affordable classes. Please be sure to check out some of my current class offerings.  Here are two free classes now available:

If you are interested in communicating about belly dance costumes more effectively, I recommend my “Five Layers of Belly Dance Appearance.”  This is a system for breaking down belly dance costuming into component parts.  This approach works from the inside out.  It moves through five layers from your skin to your finishing touches.  It’s a great way to objectively discuss costuming with your designer, students, friends, dealers, and troupe-mates.

For dancers who are active on social media, make event flyers, or just want to add a watermark to their website photos, I recommend my class and demo, “Flyer Design with Canva.”  In this demo, you can follow along as I design a basic belly dance flyer using this wonderful free drag-and-drop web-based design tool, Canva.  Of course, you can also simply check out Canva directly here.  It’s a great tool and I highly recommend it.

Thank you for your Support

And I want to thank all of you for your continuing support of my publications and classes.  It’s a great feeling to offer free workshops and book samples on the Academy website. I look forward to adding more free workshops and affordable classes on the subjects of costuming and business

I hope you enjoy our book sample!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Monday, May 21, 2018


Permalink: http://www.davina.us/blog/2018/05/want-a-sample-of-becoming-a-belly-dancer/