"It is the darkness that is the light, and the stillness that is the dancing"
It is traditional to wear some form of belly dance hip scarf or belt. This article of clothing gives definition to the hips, to isolated movements of the hips, or creates a frame to isolated movements of the upper body.
We see evidence of these in some very old Egyptian temple paintings, one in particular I remember is of a woman performing a back bend and all she is wearing is a scarf tied around her hips.
The types of belly dance hip scarf you may find are generally made of a light material like georget or chiffon, though some are of velvet or lycra. Sewn onto these hip scarves are beads or mock coins, which add movement and sound to this costume piece, and which catch and reflect the light.
The story I have heard about the origin of coins on a costume dates back to the street dancers, public performers, gypsy's. The coins or trinkets given to the dancers during street performances were sewn onto their costumes, or traded for silver jewellery. You could tell an accomplished dancer by the amount of coins or trinkets sewn to her costume and the jewellery adorning her.
In comparison to the belly dance hip scarf or the beaded or coin belts the tribal tassel belt is normally a lot heavier. It consists of a thick base belt or mirror belt, with antique silver jewellery, tassels and real coins sewn onto it.
For more information on other costume items besides the belly dance hip scarf please click here.