Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dancing In Bangladesh: Part Deux

My not so beautiful Sari, with blouse
and matching bangles
I have been dancing in Bangladesh now for about three weeks. After the first week, our teacher and one of his apprentices took us shopping for our Sari's.

Apparently there was some kind of misunderstanding (that's what happens when you don't know the language of the country you're in...). I thought we were going to get Sari's for the performance and they were going to cost us 570 Taka (about $5). Well, that was true, however that price did not include the blouse and petticoat for the Sari ensemble nor any of the jewelry that we would be required to buy for our folk dance. In addition, we are dancing two dances and therefore need two completely different costumes! We will wear our Sari's for the folk dance which are green, yellow and red. Along with the Sari we had to get matching bangles, a nose pin, flowers for our hair, a bindi for our forehead and henna to decorate our hands and arms with.

My Princess Gown
May have a second life as
a "Glenda the Good Witch"
Our second costume which is for more of a ballet style dance is a poofy silver and white princess dress. Seriously. When we were shopping with our teacher and he was picking out the fabric we kept asking for a photo of the dress design. Finally when we took all of our fabrics to the tailor, we got to see a picture. There in the pattern book was an adorable 3 year old white girl dressed in her princess Halloween costume. That is what they wanted us to wear for this slow love song we are dancing to with partners. For this costume we also had to buy diamond looking earrings and flowers for our hair. He also wants us to buy black shoes, to which I am refusing. Who would wear black shoes with a silver/white dress? I'm trying to convince him to let us dance barefoot as that's how we always practice. The only shoes I have really seen here are sandals and I don't see how those are going to stay on my feet while I'm dancing. In addition, if I found some heels, I don't really think I would be capable of dancing in them either and then he will be wishing he had let us go barefoot!

My favorite part of dancing here though (besides all my new friends) are the ghungroo! Ghungroo is a string of bells that we tie around our ankles to make noise when we dance. It may be the only part of my dance costume that makes it back to the states with me, but they will be my favorite and most memorable souvenir ever! We only get to wear them with our Sari's in the folk dance, but they are awesome. The dancers here have this amazing ability to slap their feet to the floor and make a clapping noise. This along with the ghungroo is what makes Bangladeshi dancing really intriguing. I am trying very hard to get my feet to make the clapping noise. Right now I can get it about once out of ten tries.

A close up of the borders on my
princess dress
Too cute! HADER. This is what my teacher wrote on the bottom of my
bag that had my costumes in it...Apparently this
is how you spell my name here :)

Our big performance is next week! I ended up spending way more than anticipated on these dance classes. Between the two costumes and ghungroo, all the jewelry and the classes themselves, I have spent about $65 (yup, dollars, not taka). While that may not seem like too much for dance costumes etc, consider that my salary is about $120/month, which is a pretty typical salary for the average Bangladeshi.Granted I don't have to cover rent or food costs with my salary, so for me anything I make is to do exactly this kind of thing with, but how a local affords to dance here...I don't know. They must have to save up all year to afford the performances.

 This is going to be the most memorable experience ever. We are going to look so incredibly ridiculous in our costumes and Bangladeshi make-up (don't even get me started on that part, just wait for next weeks photos after it happens) but we will definitely be laughing about the stories we have to tell for many years. In the end, the money spent is irrelevant.

1 comment:

  1. Cant wait to see a picture of you in your pretty princess dress! I think you should save it for a night out on the town back in the states! ;o)