Bahira has designed most of the troupe costumes for Troupe Nambah. Keeping in mind the type of choreography the Troupe uses for a particular set of dances, she has created a theme for each set of costumes. Here are a few photos of each set.
Using fabric with tribal patterns and designs, Bahira created a look unique to troupe Nambah. The easy-to-wrap turbans were created using her own "Insta-Turban" design and the hand beaded belts are soft and form-fitting. The use of lots of cowry shells, glass beads and tassels give these costumes a primitive look. Each of the necklaces were made by Bahira for each member to compliment her costume.
From left to right: Bahira, Fara'Asha, Mandella, Shiva
Bahira crafted the costumes for Fara'Asha, Shiva and herself while Mandella crafted hers.
Bahira designed these costumes to fit a lively set of dances using lots of turns and skirt work. The triangular shape of the belt echoes the casual tie-on gypsy scarf, but the addition of layers of fringe, beads, ribbons and coins makes this uniquely Nambah's style. The back of the belts assure that the Troupe looks as good from the back as from the front!
Each costume has a base color reflected in the color of the velvet vest: Bahira-Black, Fara'Asha-Purple, Shiva-Dark Green, Mandella-Plum. Different accent colors contrast these base colors for each of the costume: Bahira-Red, Fara'Asha-Yellow, Shiva-Orange, Mandella-Turquoise.
Use of antique-silver jewelry completes the desert tribal gypsy look.
Front and Back views.
Bahira designed the next troupe costume with an eye towards a more formal, elegant look with Flamenco overtones. All the belts were handcrafted by her from 4-inch wide metallic brocade ribbon trim with the addition of red and black chenille tassels also made by Bahira.
Gold coin and amulet accents were sewn on the velvet bras along with red & black chenille piping. The underbust stretch velvet cholis were made by Zora's Personal Seamstress giving a less exposed, more sophisticated look to the outfits. A cabbage rose in the hair completes the Spanish look.
Velvet chokers with gold coins and gold coin earrings were made by Bahira to add richness to the costumes. Red, Yellow or Orange long fringe has been added to this costume on occasion as a variation.
Note the "tail feathers" on the back of the belts.
The Troupe wanted a more modern glitzy look to reflect their more traditional cabaret line-up of dances. Bahira selected lamé and eyelash fabric to make them sparkle and Zora's Personal Seamstress sewed vests, harem pants and straight skirts. Bahira fashioned the bedlah from multicolored starred stretch lycra overlaid with gold netting. Bahira added reciprocal colored, long Mylar tassels to the belts for the maximum flash of glitter during dancing. (Photos courtesy of Duane Stevens)
Hand-dyed silk circular veils in corresponding rainbow colors added even more color to the costumes:
Bahira's inspiration for this costume came from the fabric itself. The red & silver floral stretch netting suggested a beladi-type costume, but the pattern was definitely not Middle Eastern. Bahira wanted the beladi dress to be form-fitting on top but to have panels on the bottom of the net dress which would flair out when she turned. A Spanish style costume came to mind for this fabric. Bahira designed the panels of the net dresses to be asymmetrical, longer on the right than on the left.
Zora created the net dress pattern from Bahira's design concept and sewed all of the net dresses and red chiffon glitterdot circle skirts below. Bahira hand beaded all of the bras, sleeves and panel edges of the costumes (except for Zora who beaded her own). Bahira also crafted all of the bedlah belts for the Troupe, Zora and Sevanti and found silver/grey jewelry to compliment the costume. Red, black,and silver roses in the hair complete the look.
Troupe Nambah and Friends, Zora and Sevanti, performed a Latin Fusion set of dances including fan, sword and skirtwork for the 2006 Santa Clara Art and Wine Festival.
The next Troupe costume needed to be practical for more folk-type dance steps including floor work and a stick dance. Bahira found Egyptian batik print red cotton and had Zora sew balloon leg tribal style harem pants. Bahira crafted the royal purple velvet bra and belt sets for this costume with tassels and metallic accents more in line with tribal/folk designs.