Hipscarf: A length of material worn on the hips often beaded with costume coins. Now most popularly formed of a solid rectangular length, a semi-circular shape, triangular or a square shawl shape and tied in the front or at the side. Fashioned usually in velvet or chiffon with uses of new materials such as lycra and lamé progressing the evolution of hipscarf styles.
The tradition of wearing a hipscarf whilst Bellydancing is longstanding perhaps as longstanding as the movements themselves.
There are many contributing factors that have influenced the type of coined hipscarf we wear today in classes around the world, some of which are:
- The Ouled Nail tribe and the Bedouins are believed to have attached the family’s wealth to a length of material. If the family came under threat the woman could tie this round her waist leaving her arms free to scoop up the children and the man ready to defend.
- It’s reported that back in the day, the first performing bellydancers used to sew their tips onto their costumes thus displaying their popularity
- On the completion of their housework women are reported to dance with other women in the home with a camaraderie and cheeky, showiness of the living their husbands are out working for!
- The well known dancer “Morocco” claims, when on one of her first visits to Cairo in 1978, to have played a pivotal role in the design of the produced hipscarves we wear today.
- The paintings found in the tombs of ancient Egypt depict male and female acrobats and dancers wearing a length of material tied round the hips, often with the surplus length draping down in front to maintain their modesty. (The female in the picture – I call her Anne as she looks like the woman named Anne in the board game “Guess Who?” – which incidentally I still own and recently played with my mum. I won 5-4. I made her play it with me of a Sunday evening. Silly fun!
..so there are many valid and historical reasons that the hipscarf has become a major part of Bellydancing and there are further more than mentioned here! and I haven’t even entered into the How Does It Make You Feel When You Wear A Hipscarf? aspect yet!! Maybe I’ll save that for another time..
What’s your take on these influencing factors? Which of these ideas engages your emotions most? Perhaps you know of others? Best comment wins a chiffon hipscarf!