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AMCAB Costuming with Cory Zamora

When I came into Belly Dance , I was from decades of the tap/ballet studio format.

In the 1950's all mothers sewed. They were given a bag of the fabric,any decoration and a picture of the finished costume. It did not matter if it looked awful on you, the color was bad, or you just did not like had to look like everyone else in the dance ..sometimes were were allowed to choose the color.

 I saw my first bellydancers in 1971 at THE FEZ in Hollywood CA.

I was hooked!

I had always loved the music, and there were no shoes, no choreography!! 2 dancers looked alike in their dance or costume.

 My first teacher had a BS in clothing design and taught me how to make my first Bedlah set,

(bra &belt).

Back then, our first was always coins done a very specific way!

To this day, I can tell who danced where and when by the construction of the coin set.

There was a layer of " flat work" coins , then we hung loose coins from them with a jump ring we had to solder shut, but no other method has ever had the sound these sets had. 

Now we are blessed with "snap swivels"used for fishing.

 I learned fast that I did not look good in anything heavily ornate or multi color .I am just too small to carry it. The base bra was from FREDERICKS OF was called " She Shells" and was front closing. ( Now I use "Hollywood extreme cleavage", still from Frederick's and it is blessedly back closing). 

We had to put the cups together on a thick ribbon the backs were cut off and straps made

with ribbon, Grosgrain always on the bottom, velvet or satin was used on top. I was taught to make the belt in 2 halves with 1 coat hook and 2 or 3 " eyes" so we could adjust for " monthly weight gain"..the centers were always centered.

 Years later I added the "pin bar"all my skirts are pined to my G string ..nothing moves....OH and there are is no elastic used on any of the costume, not even the bra.

The skirts are gathered and sewn on a band.I have 2 slits 2" wide on each side .I do tuck the front into the back for floor work. I have all the sets in drawers and the skirts are hung on long layered hangers so I can pick out what I need fast.

We started with all chiffon skirts, but as the years progressed, there were great synthetics that could be washed at home , including the veils which are NOT A PROP ...they are carefully picked out to match what we are wearing, they are part of the AMCAB costume.

We wear them on for the opening, then it is danced off during the veil section. All of this may sound vintage, but it is how all is still done today. We have just brought all forward with more current music .

  We did not see an Egyptian set until the middle of the 1980's and we just did not get it at all....there were so many" things" lol. I called the ruffles on elastic "pet collars" I understand they were for the upper arm.

When I get such a set for a re build, I use the wrist things/cuffs to set into the sides of the belt if it needs to be bigger. I have made belts wider by sewing the neck and head piece to the top of the front, back on the belt.

I love the mix and match can not do that when a belt is sewn into the skirt.

We are asked to match theme colors, especially for weddings . To open up a closet with all organised by textile and color really helps!


Cory Zamora started formal dance training in Culver City Ca. 1953 with Miss Ruth Kettle . She did not take students until age 5 but took Cory at age 3. This was the start of years of Ballet, Tap, Flamenco , interpretive dance. There was some work with the brother ,sister dance team , Joan & Bill Swore. At age 11 she started her 10 years of classical voice training with Bernice Mathison .Putting years of method acting, choral , painting, writting into the mix, she devoted all she knew to Middle Eastern dance in 1971 after a birthday trip to THE FEZ , in Hollywood Ca. All 3 of her future belly dance teachers appeared there .Laura Best taught at Dance Center West, Janaeni Rathor & Feruiz Aram had a studio and also taught privates out of home. In 1973 Cory relocated to Fresno Ca. The only person teaching belly dance at that time, had never had a lesson.She taught from notes she had gathered watching Helena at "the Arabian Nights "club that had closed in 1968. Cory opened her studio in the Central Valley.It remains the only studio in the area that teaches traditional AMCAB , zills, veil ties and floor work She also designs and builds Bedlah for this style of dance. Over the years few have stayed with a style that includes these elements, making her very sought after for the complete education this vast style encompasses.

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