Emotion in dance

Emotion in Dance

I had a most remarkable revelation the other day when one of my teachers said to me “Let the joy out of your mouth” meaning “smile when you dance, let your joy show.”

It made me realize how easy it is to express certain emotions when dancing and yet how difficult it seems to be to express others.  When we dance we offer our audience a glimpse into our private thoughts and personal self that they would likely never see otherwise.

For some of us this sharing of emotion is easier than for others.  And for many one or two emotions are easy to show while others may be very difficult.

I realize for myself that to show passion, surprise, anger, and sorrow are simple things.  They flow naturally through my personal interpretation of my dance form.  But to show joy or simple happiness is often hard.  I concentrate too much and forget to simply show the joy I feel.

So now I ask myself, how other dancers  break through this wall to express all emotions equally.  How do you learn to impart a true emotion, rather than trying to fake something that looks like what people expect to see?   Is this partly based in the music we chose or do we chose music based on what we find easy to express?  Does the mood and style of the costumes we wear contribute to our expression or do we choose our costumes simply for show?

As a dancer I find that every part of my dance, the choreography, the music, the costume, even the style of makeup I wear helps me to channel my emotions to my audience.   All dancers work towards that perfect harmony of movement and music and when a dancer can express all emotions with equal easy, bringing their audience to both laughter and tears then and only then have they truly mastered this amazing art form.


How to measure for correct Bra sizing

Dear Daisy,

I read your article on purchasing the correct size of bedla and am just wondering if you have any information or advice on how to determine what cup size I am or should buy?

–          Unsure

Dear Unsure,

There are two ways to find out your cup size.

The first is to go to a store that sells bras and be measured by a sales associate.  If you choose to go this route, which I encourage you to do, remember that often the expensive specialty shops give their staff more extensive training on determining sizes than the department stores do and that you are welcome to be measured at several different stores if you want a second or even third option.

If you would prefer to measure yourself at home here is the formula you will need to use.  If possible enlist a friend’s help with this as it is very hard to get accurate measurements on yourself.  You can take these measurements in a plain comfortable bra or bare chested whichever you feel more comfortable doing.  (Do not wear a sports, push up or minimizer bra for this as they can change the measurements you will get by several inches.)

  1. First standing relaxed measure your chest under your arms just below your breasts.
  2. Add 5 inches to this measurement if it is an odd number and 4 inches if it is an even number.  This total is your band size.
  3. Next measure your chest around the fullest part of your breasts.  You may want to do this in several different bras as well as without a bra to get an accurate average as your size may vary depending on how much push up a bra has in it.
  4. Now subtract your first (chest) measurement (after you added the 4-5 inches to get your band size) from the new (bust) measurement.
  5. Use the difference between your first and second measurements and the chart below to determine your bra cup size.


Bra cup size chart:

0” larger than measurement = AA

1” larger than measurement = A

2” larger than measurement = B

3” larger than measurement = C

4” larger than measurement = D

5” larger than measurement = DD or E

6” larger than measurement = F


I often suggest that if you are smaller than a B cup consider purchasing a B cup bedla with the correct or close to correct band size, and have it professionally stuffed to fit.   Often bra’s smaller than a B cup do not have sufficient impact to look good on stage and a B cup is often much easier to find and/or re-sell later if you decide you want to.  NEVER purchase a bedla with a cup size smaller than your own.  If you are in doubt, it is always better to get a cup size a little too big than it is to find out it is a little too small.


–          Daisy


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Flattering the unsymmetrical figure

Dear Daisy,

I am narrow shouldered, not well endowed, with lots of hip happening.   This causes me some problems when costume shopping, as many costumes are not flattering and simply accentuate my imbalances.  Do you have any suggestions on costume styles that would flatter my unique figure?

–          Ms. Unbalanced

Dear Ms. Unbalanced,

When looking at costumes there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Anything with sleeves especially flowing, puff or cape sleeves that are big right from the shoulder will be more flattering on you than just a Bra.  Even an open front or Turkish vest will help give you more up top especially if worn with drape sleeves or arm bands.
  2. Consider getting a bra or top that has some fringe or movement, or consider purchase a bra that is one cup size up from your normal size and have it professionally stuffed to fit you.  This will add a little more curves to the top of your costume and help draw the eye upwards.
  3. Try wearing larger than normal necklaces and earrings, as this can also help to balance the overall effect of your costume by drawing the eye up.
  4. When looking for skirts, try to get something with long lines and hem embroidery.   Go for a snugger fit at the hips and looser lower down staying away from big Gyspy skirts or anything with a lot of bulk or fringe at the hip as these will add width.
  5. When wearing a bedla try to match your belt and skirt colours or choose a skirt and sleeve colour lighter than your belt as this will help eliminated the horizontal belt-line effect that draws the eye to your hips.
  6. If you are going for a baladi dress get one with big sleeves and a straight skirt.  Consider something in a natural colour, maybe with vertical stripes to slim your hips.  Then go super bright with lots of fringe and glitz on your Bra.

There are lots of costume options out there for women with this figure type just remember to accent the top and minimize the bottom and you will get that overall balanced effect that is so pleasing on stage.

–          Daisy

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How to Clean Dance Costumes

Dear Daisy,

I am wondering if you have any suggestions for cleaning my belly dance costumes.  I am always afraid of damaging them and would love some advice on a safe way of keeping them fresh.

–          Curious

Dear Curious,

Cleaning costumes depends on the type of costume and what material went into the construction.  Most non-beaded skirts, pants, and tops can be hand washed separately in cold water and then hung or laid flat to dry.  Always check first for colour fastness if your costume may have come from overseas (especially Egypt or India) as many foreign dyes are not colour fast and will run.

If your costume has bead work and sequins you may still be able to hand wash it by placing it in cold water and gently swooshing it back and forth.  Always test a small hidden spot for colour fastness first though.  When hand washing, use only very gentle liquid soap as powders can be hard to rinse out and can leave white residue.  When you have finished washing your costume do not wring it out simply take it straight out of the water, lay it on or wrap it in a towel and gently squeeze out the extra water then hang it or lay it flat to finish drying.  If you lay it flat remember to turn it over to make sure each side gets a chance to dry properly.  If the costume is stretchy or very heavily beaded do not hang it as it can stretch while the fibres are weak from being wet.

I don’t recommend dry-cleaning costumes with plastic beads, sequins, rhinestones or specialty fabrics.  They can melt with the dry-cleaning chemicals making a horrible mess of your costume.

If you do not want to risk washing or your costume is not colour fast you can either purchase a sport style, bacteria killing, fabric de-odorizer or mix 1 part alcohol to 1 part water in a spray bottle.  Very lightly mist the inside (only the inside) of your costume making sure not to get any spray on the sequins or beads.

Another option is to lay your costume inside out in the full sun for a few hours; often this will be enough to freshen things up.

To help maintain your costumes freshness, never pack them in plastic.  Always make sure to air them out after every use and then pack them in a breathable container or garment bag.  If there is any moisture in your costume you can find yourself with a bad case of mildew next time you go to wear it so make sure it is completely dry every time you put it away.


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Dance-wear and Costumes

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Turquoise Pearl offers quality custom made troupe and soloist costumes for all styles of dance, including, jazz, ballet, lyrical, belly dance and ballroom.   Click the picture at right to see more information on our custom costume services.


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Turquoise Pearl creates custom wedding, prom, and formal wear from both pictures and client’s ideas.  Click the picture at right to see more information on our custom formal wear services.

Faqs Page

Here are some of our most commonly asked questions.  If your question is not listed here feel free to e-mail it to daisy@TurquoisePearl.ca or call 250-886-2242 and we would be happy to answer it for you.

How long will my online order take?

All our products are made to order on Vancouver Island, BC.  We will begin making your items as soon as we receive payment for your order and you can expect an average delivery date of 4-6 weeks from this date.  If you need something sooner we can sometimes expedite your shipment for a small handling fee, for more information contact us today.

What happens if I order the wrong size?

We do not accept returns for wrong size orders however we are happy to do a size exchange for you if you order the wrong size.  The wrong size item must be returned to us without being worn or washed with all it’s original tags and you will be charged a $5.00 restocking fee.  If you are unsure of what size to order please feel free to ask us for our suggestion.

Can I get this in a different colour?

All of our ready made items are available in other colours by special order.  Extra charges and minimum orders may apply.  For a list of special order colours or to ask about specialty fabrics call or e-mail us and we would be happy to assist you.

Can I get bulk discounts or wholesale rates?

We are happy to offer bulk discounts to teachers or schools and we offer Wholesale opportunities to businesses or schools who would like to purchase our products for re-sale.  For more information and for minimum order quantities, contact our sales desk above.

Where are you located?

Our studio is located in the sunny Cowichan Valley and we are proud to offer mobile service to most of southern Vancouver Island.  If you are within our service area we are available to come directly to your studio, making design and ordering easy.

Or  if you are outside our travel area try our mail order options, we can make your costumes and mail them directly to your studio.  Contact us to ask about the best option for you.