‘Al Raqisa’ Proves That Belly Dancing Isn’t Dead


Excellent article on an upcoming belly dance reality show, while discussing the complicated relationship Egypt has with belly dance. It will be exciting to see who features as dancers on the program. One of the judges in none other than Dina!


‘Al Raqisa’ Proves That Belly Dancing Isn’t Dead.

Copyright and Costumes. Do you own that look? Can you be sued?

As artists it is always one of those perplexing questions – how much of what I create do I own?

WARNING!! An Australian belly dancer just told me via facebook of her intention of getting rich by suing other dancers if they copied a costume element she recently performed with!!! She wrote that she had the ‘copywrite’ (sic) for it.

OUCH! So much for the sisterhood.

In this piece I will let you know what is the copyright standard for costumes in Australia. It may vary for other countries and is not to be taken as legal advice just a guideline. For more details see http://www.copyright.org.au/find-an-answer/browse-by-what-you-do/fashion-costume-designers/

This post is inspired by the most bizarre exchange a few days ago where the afore mentioned comment was made. I was shocked to say the least and it made me wonder -Mine

Exactly how much of your home made costume do you own?  Can you protect it?

“Key points

• One-off fashion garments, costumes and jewellery pieces are likely to be protected by copyright.

• You will generally only be able to rely on copyright protection if what you want to protect is a “work of artistic craftsmanship” (such as a one-off garment or necklace) or a design for an item you have not yet started to exploit commercially.

• If you intend to make multiple copies of items you have designed (such as a design for readyto-wear clothes), you will need to look at your options under design law, not copyright law, and you will need to do this before you start marketing or manufacturing the items.” (Australian Copyright Council, 2012, p1)

“Copyright is free and applies automatically: there is no registration system for copyright and no fees to pay.” (Australian Copyright Council, 2012, p3)

If you make something inspired by something you see in a show or online – can someone sue you? 

Copyright does not protect styles, techniques, information or ideas or concepts. 

Eg. “A particular style of clothing such as peasant-inspired clothing would not be protected by copyright, although a particular item of clothing in that style may be.” (Australian Copyright Council, 2012, p3)

So over all it seems – don’t copy anyone’s costumes exactly or without their permission – which is just common sense really. The copyright information sheet goes on to recommend getting someones permission in writing. (Australian Copyright Council, 2012, p4). If you really like something, either buy it from the original designer or put your own unique twist on it.

It is OK to publish photos of copyright protected works if it was the purpose of making a critique, review or reporting news (Australian Copyright Council, 2012, p5).

I fully support the rights of designers and artists in all genres, and have never attempted to make a copy of anyones costume. However, I never thought we would get to the point of people wanting to sue each other over costume elements in Belly dance that have been available in various styles for years. It made me very sad indeed.

How do you feel about your costumes? Would you try and sue someone if they made something similar? Where do you think the line of ownership should be drawn? Comment below.

(For those enjoying the hints on costume shopping in Cairo, the continuing parts of it are still coming. I posted this piece in between as it is quite topical.)


Australian Copyright Council (2012). Fashion & Costume Designers Information Sheet. Retrieved from http://www.copyright.org.au/find-an-answer/browse-by-what-you-do/fashion-costume-designers/

© Jade Belly Dance 2014  😉

Egyptian costume shopping in Cairo (part 2)

Costume shopping in Khan el Khalili, Cairo Egypt.

The famous Yassers

This is a shop I had heard about many times and only managed to find on this trip to Cairo.

Yassers is a behind the main street and runs parallel to it. Probably best found if you look from El Fishaweys. Fishaweys is known to everyone in the khan and according to urban legend, has been open continuously for 600 years!

El Fishaweys - Khan El Khalili (I hope I spelt that write!) A fun place to rest from your shopping and to orient yourself.

El Fishaweys – Khan El Khalili (I hope I spelt that write!) A fun place to rest from your shopping and to orient yourself.

Yassers has a big sign above the door and is a tiny shop, upstairs you will find the costumes packaged and organised on shelves according to price.  I think costumes were from 500 to 1500LE (I am just guessing on the starting price, I can’t quite remember –  I went to a lot of shops!!).

This seems to be a no bargain zone too.  Costume adjustment did not seem to be easily arranged here either, so make sure it fits well or be prepared to sew it or alter it when you get home.

On the up side, the designs were more varied and if you after something a bit different, it is worth looking around here. Just be sure to take only 1 or 2 friends with you. If you are in a bigger group you will have to split up as it is not physically possible to have many people in that store.

I found that the designs seemed to be better suited to a hip size smaller than myself or the 2 ladies i was shopping with possessed.

I think it is more of a small to medium height- bust – hip shop. (That’s not to say there is nothing for you if you are busty or tall – just less of it. If you are 5’6 ish, take a C-cup, like to make a statement with your costumes and have never owned a size 12 pair of pants then you might have found heaven!)

I am 176cm tall with hips that were built for child bearing and I had a few of those embarrassing – ‘No I can’t show you what it looks like because I can’t get it on!’ moments.

I found a crazy green outfit, i loved the skirt but it was a touch too small and the top wasn’t that flattering but it was so amazing, I was still tempted.

Selfie in the change room in the green outfit mentioned. Inexpertly photoshopped to obscure my friend and the fact she is holding her dress on!

Selfie in the change room in the green outfit mentioned. Inexpertly photoshopped to obscure my friend and the fact she is holding her dress on!

Larger ladies read my last review about Mahmoud Abdel Ghaffar ‘s shop. I have several more shops to mention yet, so if you haven’t read about one you like yet – don’t give up! Subscribe so you don’t miss the next post. Posts are a little erratic right now as I am neck deep in University assignments for my Master of Teaching. Expect more frequent posts in October.

Have you shopped in Cario? Where did you find your costumes? – please comment below.

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