Pedralta World Fusion®

What to look for in a tribal skirt

You don′t need to invest in special clothing as soon as you start to learn improvised tribal dance or ATS. Just wear lose clothing that you can move in, definitely not jeans. Some teachers recommend that you get used to dancing in a full skirt.

Cheap as chips!

You can start with a charity shop find. Look for a three-tier skirt that′s at least 8 yards at the hem, preferably cotton or a cotton mix. It might have an elasticised or a drawstring waist. It′s best to look for a size larger than you′d usually need. That way the skirt should be a little more full at the hips and sit a little lower. Look for something that′s well proportioned.

Many of the tiered skirts you can buy in the high street are tight at the hips and flare towards the bottom of the skirt. These are unsuitable. They′re uncomfortable and make many moves difficult, restricting your range of movement.

Your first tribal performance skirt

Whether it′s for your first hafla performance or as part of a troupe, there will come a time when you want to invest in a "proper" tribal skirt. Although you may find the odd bargain in the high street, generally it′s best to go for something that′s been designed with dancers in mind.

The fabric

Tribal SkirtLook for a three-tier skirt, made largely from natural fibres. Cotton mixes are good as they wash better, don′t crease so much and are much lighter than 100% cotton. (My first 100% cotton skirt used to slide off!) Consider whether the fabric is likely to shrink, stretch or fade. Will you have to hand wash? Will the colour bleed while you′re wearing it? Many cheaper skirts you can buy will require very careful handling.

How big?

The hem needs to be approximately 10 yards wide. The next middle tier should be 5 yards and the top tier about 2-21/2 yards, about the same depth as the lower tier, with an elasticised waist.

Does the shape really matter?

It′s these two top tiers that are crucial. Don′t assume that because a skirt is marketed as a tribal skirt that the tiers will be in proportion.

Many "costume" skirts are cheap imports that skimp on fabric by loading the bottom tier but making the two top tiers really deep and short on fabric, so that they just go round the hips. They look quite pretty but even if you′re comfortable dancing in them, they won′t move beautifully, to accentuate your dancing, especially when spinning and turning.

If in doubt, ask the supplier about the two upper tiers, ask for measurements. Try it on and give it a spin. If you′re buying online, check the supplier′s returns policy.

Pedralta SkirtsPedralta tribal skirts are made with a full 5 metres of fabric and are correctly proportioned to enhance your tribal dancing. They are pre-shrunk, colourfast and machine washable.

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