Dancing ATS (American Tribal Style Bellydance) includes playing finger cymbals or zills. If you don’t have any music, the rythms you play are enough to dance to. They can be pretty loud though, so if you’re goind to practice at home it might be a good idea to muffle the sound. So I crocheted a pair of little “hats” for mine. I made them the simplest way possible: just crocheted in wider or narrower circles until they fit the zills. I also crocheted a little pouch using the same technique and wove in a satin ribbon to close it with.
This is the top part of my ATS costume. For the “coin” bra I used a regular bikini bra that is one size too big for me so that underneath there is room for my regular well-fitting bra. It is decorated with white buttons I inherited from my grandmother. I was inspired by other people who made their coin bras with sea shells, and I thought the white buttons look a little bit like that. I also used a necklace, two chains, and ribbons made from a tablecloth. I used the same tablecloth for both my tasselbelt and my green medieval dress. Busy tablecloth!
The choli is made from a short tight dress. I cut it off at chest level and used the bottom part to make sleeves and shoulder straps. I like that it’s deep blue rather than black, making the outfit more colourful.
When dancing ATS, the bouncing tassels of the tasselbelt emphasises the hip movements. Making tasselbelts is a great way to personalise your ATS costume and to use up beautiful pieces of fabric that aren’t big enough to make anything else out of. I made my favourite tasselbelt on the left from the same tablecloth I used for my green medeival dress. The gold ones are made from another tablecloth that already had triangular sides. Upcycling ftw!
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One of my hobbies is a type of bellydance called American Tribal Style Bellydance (ATS). It is a danceform improvised in groups. There is a leader, but the leader position is switched spontaneously when dancing. Using hand signals, the leader communicates to the group which step to do, a kind of sign language. That way, you can dance ATS with anyone in the whole world as long as you both know the language. You can learn to dance with others pretty quickly, and at the same time there are endless possibilities to develop as a dancer and take your dancing to the next level, both as an individual and with other people. I strongly recommend anyone who is the least bit interested in dancing to try it! Moreover, the costumes are amazing, drawing inspiration from among other things spanish, oriental and indian dance. I think they area bit fantasy-like too.
Common elements of an ATS costume:
- Harem pants.
- Often a big circle skirt, prefereably several.
- Belts and shawls, and often so called tassel belts.
- Some kind of top, for example a choli or a vest.
- Headgear, for example a turban or lots of flowers.
- BLING! A lot of big jewellry that look a bit old-fashioned.
- Finger cymbals/zills that you play while dancing.