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My “Most Worn” Belly Dance Costume Piece?

Cold Shoulder Mesh Middle Dance Unitard

It’s spring of 2022, and I find myself spring cleaning my dance wardrobe. As I pulled out all the bits and pieces, I came to an amazing realization. My most-worn garment is something ready-made that I purchased more than a decade ago!

In this photo from 2010, I am wearing my beloved Alexandria cold shoulder unitard. This photo was taken at the Bean Scene in Sunnyvale where I was dancing as a last-minute substitute to fill a hole in the dance line-up. At the time, I was teaching on Thursday nights right next door at Lunatic Fringe.

When asked to dance, I simply pulled out my “teaching” outfit. Featuring the key ingredient, my essential Alexandria Unitard from Dahlal International. On that day, I paired it with a lovely hip wrap I had purchased from Sheherezade Imports at Rakkasah West.  The shoes are Capezio dance sneakers from Discount Dance Supply.

Support Your Favorite Dance Dealers

Even though I’m a costume maker and an author of DIY books, I support my favorite belly dance dealers!  Over the course of the past year, I’ve been purchasing materials and supplies for the next book, “Belly Dance Costuming in Detail with Assiut.”  Folks have asked me, where are you purchasing your assiut pieces?

The truth is everywhere I can find them, starting with my favorite dance dealers. In the past I have purchased shawls from, Dahlal International, Scheherezade Imports, and a while back, from Turquoise International.  Assiut (assuit or tulle bi telli) is being widely produced in Upper Egypt.  Modern shawls, sashes, scarves, robes, and kaftans for exported to specialty dealers around the globe.

Buying vs. Making Belly Dance Costume Pieces

Even as an experienced maker of costumes, there are some items that are just more practical to buy. Making this unitard would have cost way more than the $50 or so dollars. Factoring in the materials, supplies, and time to make this garment, the price was a good deal then. In the intervening years, it’s hardly gone up in price, but I’m pleased to spot that it’s available up to a 3X.

So if you’re a plus-sized dancing babe like me, this might be a good choice for your wardrobe too.   Don’t like halters?  Sleeved and tank versions are available too if a halter is not to your taste. With this base layer in place, I have the freedom to focus on making bedlah sets.

Amazing Price Per Wearing

As a designer, my goal is to maximize my productivity.  Buying “belly dance basics” from reputable dealers who I know and trust helps me save time, and ultimately, money.  When I take the price, now $54, and divide it by the number of wearings, the price is just pennies per performance.

I’m looking forward to designing a new assiut bedlah set for myself to wear with this unitard. Watch for its appearance in my next book and in performances throughout the next few seasons of dance.

Time to get back to the worktable,
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
April 18, 2022


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