One of the hardest things a dancer can do is to say goodbye to her good friends.
And I’m not talking about relocating to a new town and joining a dance community far from home. I’m talking about getting rid of your old costumes.
For many of us, especially in today’s economic climate, selling some old costumes is an acceptable and preferable way to justify bringing a new rotation of sparklies on board. It feels less like a purchase and more like a rare natural symbiosis, where money simply changes hands and costumes flow freely from one dancer to another. It is the belly dance equivalent of the Circle of Life.
That being said, I’ve decided to send a couple of costumes off to see the world – but not without a normal degree of grieving.
I tend to make this decision based on a couple of factors. Do I reach for that costume anymore? Have I already danced and modeled in it several times? If so, does it still excite me? Does the color, cut and fit flatter me? Could I stand to replace it with something more versatile or something more daring?
While there’s no need to hang on to costumes that don’t suit me any more, it’s too easy to grow attached. My costumes have been on TV, in photo shoots, and in front of adoring crowds. They make me feel like a princess and sometimes earn me crazy amounts of tips. They’re objects I acquired during some of the most defining times of my dance life, when I first began to figure out who I really am as a dancer. One of my friends recently remarked that she would much sooner sell her wedding dress than a favorite costume! Rightfully, we attach quite a bit of baggage to a bunch of sparkles, chiffon and Lycra.
Perhaps, instead of baggage, it makes sense to think of the fond memories – and get at least one kickass photo of our costumes before passing them on, so that we can 1. remember them forever and 2. have the designer re-create the original if we REALLY get buyer’s regret! Or maybe you can think of it as a transfer of love – you pass along your favorite costume and its good juju to somebody who will give it new life and spirit. I know I’ll adore my new costumes as much as I came to love the ones I’m letting go.