It takes practice to walk effortlessly in a saree. It probably takes more practice to dance in a saree, but with the right techniques, it is definitely possible. Walking, sitting, and even going to the bathroom become difficult when you are wrapped around in a saree. So how can you even think of dancing in a saree?
With the right amount of practice, you can dance in a saree. You just need to gather the right materials, know how to properly wear them, and go easy on the accessories. This way, everything on you will remain on you, fit and snug, even as you twirl, prance or leap. Read on for all you need to know to dance in a saree.
Gather Everything You Need to Wear a Saree
So you think you can dance…in a saree? Well, then you better have the attire ready! Whether you want to perform in a rehearsed dance show or just dance along with your friends and family at a party, you will need all the components of a saree.
The saree is made of three parts:
- The petticoat. This is an undergarment that looks similar to the western long skirt.
- The blouse. This is an undergarment that looks similar to a tight crop top and is usually buttoned from the front.
- The saree. The actual saree is a long, very long strip of material. The saree is wrapped around the body, pleated in certain parts, and draped across the upper torso.
When selecting all the parts of a saree, make sure you choose each item to be fully compatible with any dancing activities.
Choosing Petticoats for Dancing
This long undergarment has a big responsibility of keeping your saree snug around your waist. To dance freely, choose a proper petticoat.
- Wear a traditional petticoat, which has an adjustable drawstring around the waist. This drawstring lets you tie the petticoat extra tight, with no chance of the saree falling off.
- Make sure it is the correct length. As you will be dancing, the petticoat cannot be too long. You can wear the petticoat above, at, or under the belly button. Whichever you choose, make sure the petticoat ends just above the ankles once worn.
- The petticoat material should be comfortable and loose. Avoid fabrics that stick to your skin, like silk, as they will hinder your leg movements. You can apply talcum powder to your legs, too, to avoid petticoats from being sticky.
- Go for side-gathered petticoats instead of paneled or A-lined petticoats. The gathers on the side inserts create a lot of space, which lets you walk and dance more freely.
- Make sure the color of the petticoat camouflages well with your saree. You have to do this when wearing any saree for any occasion. When dancing in the spotlight, however, you want to be extra careful that your petticoat color blends in completely with your saree.
- If your dance form requires you to wear pant-like outfits, like the “dhoti” pants, then wear leggings instead of petticoats. The saree is wrapped around the waist than in between the legs to create the baggy pants look. This dance-friendly saree style requires leggings as the undergarment.
Choosing Shoes for Your Saree
The right kind of shoes is important when dancing in general. Hence the right kind of shoes when dancing in a saree is extremely important.
- Comfort first! Wearing the saree can mean adjusting and readjusting from time to time. You don’t want any discomfort or pain from your shoes while already handling a saree. What is comfortable to you is a personal choice. If you can dance in heels, then you may. If you want to prevent any mishaps, go for flats or broad-based shoes.
- Put your shoes on first before you start wearing the saree. The height you start wrapping your saree around depends on how tall you will be after wearing your shoes. So remember to put your shoes on after you put on your petticoat and blouse.
Choosing Your Saree and Blouse
The saree and the blouse will be visible, so you want to wear them beautifully. The petticoat will be hidden underneath, and the shoes will be mostly covered by the length of the saree. The saree and the blouse are what you will be flaunting on the dance floor.
- Pretty much any color, design, and material are great when dancing in a saree. This will depend on personal taste or the event requirements.
- Darker colors, especially for blouses, will hide sweat stains better.
- Lighter materials, like cotton and linen, will keep you cooler.
- Fewer embellishments and embroideries on the saree are easier to manage.
- Body-hugging materials will flatter your physique more and make your dancing look and feel better. Georgettes, linens, and so on are great for this.
- A well-fitted blouse is a must for your comfort. Too tight will restrict your back and arm movements and might even hurt. Too loose won’t let your saree fit you well. Find a blouse that compliments your upper body shape. Make sure the blouse design matches your choice of bra too. The last thing you want to worry about is whether your bra is showing through.
Choosing Your Accessories
Jewelry, flowers, bags can doll up any saree style. You want to look dressed up and beautiful when you are dancing, but you don’t want to feel weighed down by your ornaments when dancing. So choose your accessories wisely, so they do not interfere with your dance moves.
- Smaller and lighter jewelry. Simple earrings, one necklace, a few bangles, and so on are your best bet when dancing. Even if you choose bigger jewelleries, make sure they don’t feel big and weighty.
- Make sure your accessories do not attach with your saree. Small or big, some ornaments get caught on fabric easily. Being tied into a knot between your jewelry and your saree will create a hot mess on the dance floor. Definitely avoid this.
- Keep your hands free by taking a bag with a long handle instead of clutches.
Put on Your Saree
The basic rules for wearing a saree when dancing are the same as when wearing a saree for any occasion. However, you want to take extra care in ensuring every step is done correctly so that each part of the saree is securely fitted.
Knot Your Saree
The saree is first taken by a corner which is tucked into the petticoat. Create a medium-sized knot with this corner of the saree before you snug it into the petticoat. This will ensure the saree does not come undone.
Safety pins will prevent the saree from unraveling itself. Place a pin on the pleats you make to keep the pleats in place. You can also put a pin on the pleats and petticoat so the pleats do not shift around. Don’t forget to place a pin on your saree and blouse, so your saree covers your blouse appropriately at all times. Lastly, pin your draped pallu on your shoulder so the draping stays in place even if you bend forward.
Make Less Pleats than Usual
Pleats create a bulky look. The fewer pleats mean a tighter shape and easier management. Fewer pleats will look better when dancing. Tuck your pleats in deep into the petticoat, so it has no chance of slipping out.
Test it Out
Once the saree is put on, do the front lunges and side lunges with both legs. This will stretch out the petticoat underneath and give you full freedom of leg movement. Try out regular moves and dance moves to see how you feel. When walking regularly, kick the pleats of your saree with each step to walk or stride gracefully.
It also helps to practice your dance moves slowly first for safety. If the saree feels right, try your dance moves at a regular pace. Try doing this step with your hair done and accessories on, too, so you can be absolutely confident when the actual time to dance in your saree comes.
Try Different Saree Looks for Dancing
The saree can be a versatile outfit. From a range of colors to draping styles, there are so many ways to wear the iconic saree.
Here are a couple of saree looks you can try next time you want to dance.
The Traditional Look
A traditional look complements traditional Indian dances.
- Just one color of vivid red or bright yellow, for both the saree and the blouse, looks wonderful.
- Add the culturally beloved gold for any ornaments, such as sets of bangles or the Indian tikli.
- The desi embellishments such as red henna designs and a dotted bindi will flatter this style.
- A typical hair updo, like a tight bun with a middle parting, will look good and also keep your hair in place when dancing.
Wear the saree in the “dhoti pants” fashion. This will allow full movements of the leg and suit many of the traditional Indian dance routines.
The Saree with A Belt Look
- Wrap up your saree style with a belt for a very secure and very sexy style.
- Choose a belt that stands out from your saree’s color, like a black belt on a light blue saree or a shimmering gold belt on a hot pink saree.
- Keep your draping pallu firmly set over your shoulder with the belt. This makes you look very put-together even when you are dancing away.
- Go for a belt that is highly designed with embellishments. The belt can act as a piece of statement jewelry in your whole look, especially if you feel bare without larger ornaments like dangling earrings.
- You can look like a highly accessorized dancer without comfort being taken away with a belt.
It is obvious that sarees come with a few burdens. This is especially true if sarees are new to you. Luckily these complications are easily overcome.
If you know how to select your saree and wear it firmly and well, you never have to let manageable problems get in the way of you and your dancing. Wear your saree properly and practice plenty. Then you are a diva on the dancefloor as your rock your saree.