Some people are afraid to try Middle Eastern dance because they don't want to show their belly, but belly dance is a great way to find body acceptance.


There are pros and cons to covering or revealing the midriff, but the key thing in class and during a performance, short of wearing a burlap sack, is to be comfortable. A dancer should not be forced into a revealing outfit, but there are advantages to seeing the stomach.

Seeing the Moves in Belly Dance

A dancer can wear a tank top and still see her hip work, but the moves are clearer when she wears something around her hips. The moves look even sharper when her midriff is exposed. The bare stomach helps her see what her hips and abs are doing, and helps her learn better. An exposed belly also helps direct people to what they should be looking at, which is helpful for an audience who can be unfamiliar with this dance style.

Body Acceptance

Body anxiety is common among both thin and curvy women, but Middle Eastern dance celebrates all body types. The idea is to show movement, which works best with some extra weight. Thinner dancers have to work harder and wear more layers around their hips in order to see what they're doing. How can a dancer appreciate her body if she doesn't see it?

Even if it's in the privacy of her bedroom, a dancer should practice with a bare midriff. That will help her see her ribs and stomach muscles, see how her body moves, and appreciate herself. Confidence is the key. If a dancer is confident with who she is and how she dances, even if she doesn't fit the stereotyped idea of a beautiful woman, she will captivate audiences and inspire people to accept their own bodies.


Alternatives to a Bare Midriff

There are so many positive benefits to Middle Eastern dance (the exercise, camaraderie, fun, and excuse to dress in bright, sparkly costumes), that a person shouldn't refuse to try this dance style under the assumption that a bare belly is necessary. While certain moves like belly rolls, flutters and tucks (which are common to cabaret style belly dance) can't be seen very well if the dancer is covered up, there are ways to have movements be seen and still dance under wraps:

  1. Khaleegy, beledi, and saidii dresses: These are more folkloric costumes that cover the whole body, but the attached fringe, beads and sequins still show movement. For a more cabaret look, there are dresses available with flesh tone cutouts.
  2. Coin drapes or fabric: Hanging something from the bottom of a bra or other dance top will hide some of the stomach without obstructing a dancer's moves. Coin drapes and fabric also beautifully show off flutters and belly rolls, just as well or better than a completely exposed stomach.
  3. Mesh body stockings: The body stocking can hold the stomach in, similar to control-top pantyhose. An added benefit is that the stocking can help bring the belly’s skin tone closer to than of a dancer's face and arms.

Putting on a crop top and walking into a studio of strangers to learn belly dance sounds pretty intimidating. However, everyone has body issues, and this dance style helps women feel more comfortable with themselves. Even a dancer who decides she's not comfortable showing her stomach can enjoy learning Middle Eastern dance.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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