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I've recently become interested in Middle Eastern Dance, known to most folks as belly dance, as both an art form and a way to increase the amount of exercise I get (like many Americans, it hasn't been enough).

In addition to the sites below that I've found interesting, you can take a look at some of the outfits I've designed. (Please note: I DO NOT make and sell outfits, these are just designs!)

Web sites about or relating to belly dancing (primarily costuming information)

Artemis Imports

A variety of items imported from Morocco (the site indicates that they make buying trips there twice a year).

Atira's Fashions

While I find their Web site design terribly distracting, these are some of my favorite patterns for Middle Eastern fashion. In addition to ordering them directly from here, these patterns are available from various other vendors, including the Chivalry Sports Renaissance Store.

Audrema.com — The Belly Dance Store

The Costume Goddess

Dawn "Davina" Devine Brown (Ibexa Press)

This is the main page for the author of three books: Costuming from the Hip, From Turban to Toe Ring, and Bedlah, Baubles and Beads. Each book is dedicated to a different aspect of Middle Eastern fashion or costume.

In addition to these large books, Ibexa Press also supplies three booklets: Skirting the Issue, Pants for the Dance, and most recently Style File: A visual vocabulary of Middle Eastern dance costumes.

DOMBA! Tribal Music Dance and Wares

These folks had a booth at the Michigan Renaissance Festival when I was there in 2003, and I was quite impressed with their wares. "World Fusion Music & Dance, Handmade Gypsy Wares."

Discover Belly Dance

A pattern page, including the choli pattern from...

FatChanceBellyDance

Based in San Francisco, California, FCBD is an American Tribal Style troop led by Carolena Nericcio. In addition to providing information about the troop's performances, this site offers a wide range of dancing supplies: from books, videos, and music to clothing – both patterns to make you own and ready-to-wear items – and make-up.

Fatima's Bazaar and Cultural Dance Studio

Flying Skirts of San Francisco

"Gwen Heckeroths' one women company in San Francisco. She is costumer to FatChanceBellyDance [see above] and has been providing costuming to the dance community for more than a decade."

The International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance (IAMED)

"The Art of Belly Dancing. Visit our store to buy belly dancing videos, DVDs and music CDs." In addition to their store, this site also includes a discussion board, an events calendar and a nice "about belly dancing" section with FAQ.

L. Rose Designs

"Elegant silk and velvet designs for the discerning Middle Eastern dancer."

Mid-East Mfg. — The Ethnic Music Instrument Company

Sarasvati Silks

Another booth I visited at the 2003 Michigan Renaissance Festival — unfortunately, their web site is only a graphic front page for now. You can try e-mailing them at jenabah@yahoo.com. "Handcrafted Silk Garments & Housewares of the Goddess."

Saroyan Mastercrafts

Finger cymbals (zils), costume coins, and music CDs — includes FAQs and a history of finger cymbals.

Shira's Belly Dancing site: Costume Corner

Tips and ideas, plus a few free patterns — this site includes useful sewing ideas for more than just belly dance outfits!

Turkish Corner

An import/export company in NYC, with belly dance clothing products and accessories from Turkey. Their outfits would most likely be categorized as bedlah or "cabaret" style rather than tribal (actually, if you're familiar with the Dawn Devine Brown books, these outfits quite nicely match her description of the Turkish style of Bedlah outfit).

They also sell on eBay (a member since December 2002, with powerseller status and positive feedback over 99.5% when I looked — I figure anything over 99% is probably good, given that there are always going to be some folks who you can't make happy).

Visionary Dance Productions: Bellydance with Delilah

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HENNA DESIGNS (A.K.A. MEHNDI)

A topic related to my interest in Middle Eastern dance is the design and application of patterns stained onto the skin with henna (the botanical name of which is Lawsonia inermis). This art form is often referred to as Mehndi, the Hindi word for painting patterns on the body with a paste made of ground, dried henna leaves, sometimes combined with other ingredients.

Web sites about the art of henna designs and henna artists

Henna Caravan: Henna Body Painting by Jessica McQueen

Henna Hanté: Mendhi Resources

The Henna Page: a guide to henna body decorations

Offers the how (recipes & techniques), why (history & culture), what (a design gallery), and where (artists & suppliers) of henna design, plus FAQ, warnings, a book shop, and further links.

Mehndi Skin Art

Appears to be a nice site, although I haven't had time to do more than a quick browse. From their e-mail requesting I add them to this list: "Henna history and gallery featuring various styles and artists from contemporary to traditional. Browse the artwork and our complete line of henna products. Wholesale inquires welcome."

TapDancing Lizard Publications and Mehandi.com

The first of these sister sites sells books, in both tradition and e-book format, about the art and history of Mehandi (as they spell it). The second provides a variety of free information about the art, as well as some sample designs from various cultures.

Henna supplies online

Castle Art and Import: Henna for Mehndi

Based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Offers henna powder, stencils, cones, and other supplies.

Crystal India

Based in Delhi, India.

Earth Henna

Based in Hollywood, California.

Radico Export-Import

Based in Faridabad, India. Offers a complete range of henna products (natural henna powder, henna paste tubes, kits, etc.), bindis, jewelry, and various other imports from India.

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  Contact the webmistress: SaraJoan Last Updated: 7 August 2006