Delilah's Belly Dance Costume Workshop

reviewed by SHEREZZAH

Delilah's Belly Dance Costume Workshop, Visionary Dence Productions, 4115 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103. Two videos, 160 minutes total. $89.95 includes videos and 40-page booklet.

When I received the two Costume Workshop video tapes, I immediately watched each one (totalling three hours of costume information and performances). Part I starts with a performance by Delilah in an elegant black and silver Madame Abla costume. Some of the lighting in Part I is not consistent -- sometimes the figure of Delilah disappears into shadow. The intent is to show the costume in shadows and silhouette. This was tbe only flaw, however, that I found in the entire video.

After this performance, we join Delilah in her workshop. The tables are loaded with bolts of fabric and costumes in various stages of construction. Delilah discusses her ideas about costuming and then focuses on methodology before actually making some skirts. Delilah uses a variety of her skirts to show the viewer several diferent styles. She also provides detailed instructions for making two relatively easy costumes of her design. One of these is the "Arabesque" costume she wore for the Conversations performance in her Dance, Delilah, Dance video (from Volume Ill of her Dance Workshop series).

After providing the viewer with some sewing hints, Delilah models a variety of head adornments, including headpieces and wigs. She also offers a few tips m design and construction of head adornments.

In the final section of Part I, the viewer joins Delilah at her make-up table where she offers some pearls of wisdom while demonstrating her make-up techniques. It's fascinating to watch her transformation into "exotic Delilah".

Part II opens with another performance of Delilah dance with 10 (count 'em-10!) different veils. She skillfully demonstrates the advantages of using veils of various fabrics, sizes, and shapes: how circular veils spin, silks flows, and how chiffon drapes. Delilah aces a Middle Eastern white dress with a tie at the hips for this instructional veil dance.

We then join Delilah in her workshop, where she discusses the basics of bras, belts, beads, and some miscellanous costume pieces. Laurel Gray, visiting with her entertaining cat, presents a brief history of the uses of the veil in Middle Eastern dance.

After Laurel's presentation, Delilah demanstrates several veil wraps and instructs the viewer in both how to put them on and how to dance them off. The camera utilizes a mirror to exhibit different perspectives of the veil dance. Part II ends with a dancers modeling and performing in a variety of costumes. Delilah and Laurel provide narration about each costume.

The accompanying booklet compliments the video well. It reviews nearly every costume tip that the video presents and provides reinforcement for some of Delilah's more important points. The booklet also offers additional information about fingernails and costume care and a list of vendors who sell costumes and costuming materials.

Delilah's Costume Workshop is not just the nitty-gritty of fabricating costumes, it also includes philosophy, history and impressive performances to enhance and augment the costume tips. Overall, I was delighted with the video. It's educational and entertaining. Even an experienced costumer can pick up a few useful tips in Delilah's Costume Workshop.

Sherezzah (Defray Beach, FL) is a teacher, performer and director of the Rising Phoenix Dancers. This review appeared in Middle Eastern Dancer magazine.

An Outline of Delilah's Belly dance Costume Workshop

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