The variety of dance costumes for both men and women is wide since there are so many different performing arts dance themes. Dances range from ethnic traditions to musical plays; costumes always fit in with the performance's overall mood and energy. Dancewear costumes may be homemade or professionally constructed.
Belly dancing costume pants as well as scarves are typically airy, billowy and extravagantly detailed. Light, vividly colored, floaty fabrics such as silk and chiffon are used for these pieces as they move with the belly dancer to create a vibrant effect. By contrast, the top of belly dance costumes is usually tight-fitting. It covers only the chest and bares the abdomen; typically, it's heavily embellished with metallic braid, sparkling sequins or small jewels. The belly dance is a graceful, swaying series of movements that are Middle Eastern in origin.
Hawaiian dances also include types of swaying movements, but the costumes are very different even though the body's midsection is still left bare. A traditional Hawaiian hula skirt is made of long grasses and the bra-like top features two half coconut shells. Contrasting this type of look are the classical ballet dance costumes with their short, outwardly flounced skirts attached to a covered torso section. These costumes, known as tutus, often include netting under the skirt to help it hold a circle shape around the dancer's hips. The outward layer of fabric for both the top and skirt sections is usually satin that may be either elegantly plain or richly embellished.
Irish dance costumes are typically made from satin, velvet or other luxurious fabrics. Lace or sequins may accent a sleeveless or elaborately sleeved top, while the skirt is usually about knee length and flared. The classic Irish dance costume for men is a dressy shirt worn with dark pants or a kilt; a vest is also sometimes added.
Brazilian carnival dancers usually wear small, short costumes with detailed head pieces. They do the Samba dance which is upbeat and fast moving; the costumes are brightly colored with jewels, beads, flowers or feathers that create an exciting look to coordinate with the mood their movements create. Musical theater, such as in "The Wizard of Oz," calls for dance costumes unique to the storyline. For instance, "The Wizard Of Oz's" lead role of Dorothy is a Kansas farm girl; her costume includes a blue gingham dress with hair ribbons as well as a white blouse and socks.