Mariia 'Kamil' Review - by Asher Taylor-Dawson

Mariia ‘Kamil'

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If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Summary:

Pretty sure this thing involves black magic. Also pretty sure I don’t care.

TL;DR:
Flat-thong dance belt with a narrow waistband, extremely comfortable, takes a profound amount of abuse without losing its grip. Possibly not as suitable for the spectacularly well-endowed among us. Sizing is ballet standard, so runs small relative to typical US sizing. Very highly recommended.

The Long Version:
I seem to review dance belts with reasonable regularity, but I’ve never actually come up with a system for comparing them. I plan to solve that problem with this review, then apply the same metrics to other models I’ve reviewed.

In that vein, here’s a brief overview of my system, such as it is. Since this is, like, Version 1.0, or possibly even 0.5, it’s sure to evolve over time.

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Anyway, here we go.
If you’re reading this, you probably (???) already know what a dance belt is and what it’s for.  So you probably also know that every dance belt involves a trade-off between comfort and security, and that since dancers typically put up with a lot of discomfort in general, what we mean when we say “comfort” is nigh incomprehensible to people who don’t dance.

As such, when I say that this dance belt is head and shoulders above the competition in terms of comfort, I suspect that the average Joe who isn’t used to wearing dance belts would probably still find it … erm. A bit confining, perhaps?

And yet, given that most (MOST! not all) proper dance belts handle the security end of the job reasonably well, comfort is perhaps the most salient point of comparison.

Thus, it’s going right at the top of my set of metrics, like so:
      Comfort
      Security
      Appearance
      Fit
      Durability
…Each assigned a value from 1-5. Because I am so original and creative, I shall define 1 as “really freaking bad” and 5 as “really freaking good.” Note that I am not including the word “perfect” in my metrics, because dammit, Jim, it’s a dance belt, not a … okay, you get the point.

Comfort is, of course, not the most objective of metrics. But whatever. There it is.

I think it’s probably also a good idea to define a standard set of descriptive criteria, so here’s that as well:
      Thong Type: Flat or Round [1]
      Waistband: Narrow or Wide
      Rise: Low, Mid, or High
      Materials: Synthetic, Cotton, or Both
      Sizing: Ballet Standard or … like, Capezio [2]

-  1.     Round thongs are the devil. Avoid them unless you have no other choice.
-  2.
     Capezio, for whatever reason, seems to calibrate its dance belt sizes based on something more like typical American menswear. Which is to say that if your skivvies are a US Medium, a Capezio medium will fit, though of course being a dance belt it will almost certainly be tighter than anything else you’ve ever applied to your nether regions. If you wear a US Medium and order a Medium from Body Wrappers, on the other hand, you’re in for a surprise.

Okay, Fine, But What About This Specific Dance Belt?
Now that we’ve defined some criteria, let’s apply them!

Description:
Flat Thong, Narrow Waistband, Low-Rise, Synthetic Material, Ballet Standard Sizing  

Comfort: 5/5
For ME, on my particular body, this is the single most comfortable dance belt I’ve ever worn. The circumstances of my life frequently result in such ill-considered actions as driving for two or more hours at a time whilst strapped into a dance belt, and this is the only one that doesn’t reliably irritate my coccyx (that’s a tailbone, in case you weren’t sure) when that happens.

The waistband doesn’t dig in. The pouch doesn’t … do whatever weird things pouches can do, goodness knows there are plenty of them. The whole thing rides neither up nor down unless you’re arrayed in a really awkward way on a high-friction surface (in short, sitting in the passenger’s seat with your feet up on the dash, which leads to your joggers and everything under them slowly rising as your body sinks, then sinking as you struggle back upwards, and so forth).

The best dance belts disappear from your consciousness when you’re dancing. This one disappears from your consciousness almost all the time (at just the right angle, while seated, I occasionally notice the thong). If I’m not mistaken, it’s the only one I’ve ever actually forgotten I was still wearing at the end of a long day. Like I have literally started getting undressed and said, “Oh, I’m still wearing a dance belt. Huh.”

Security: 5/5 (unless you’re, say, Rudolf Nureyev) 
This is where this dance belt’s most significant caveat comes into play. It is NOT built for the, erm, unusually well endowed. Chances are good that it’s perfectly fine for the vast majority of guys, but it has its limits.

For guys in the small and average ranges, the Kamil is quite secure indeed: very much comparable to Body Wrappers’ M007 (AKA the narrow-waist ProBelt). In the ballet studio, either the Kamil or the BW M007 will get me through one of those days when my AD decides we all need a ton of petit, medium, and grand allegro and also some running to improve our stamina.

In the circus arts studio, the Kamil has proven more secure than Body Wrappers’ M007, The difference applies mainly to aerial apparatus, which are no friends either to dance belts or to the things we keep in our dance belts. The difference comes down to pouch design: the M007’s pouch has floating edges, which prevent chafing, but which can be displaced by aerial apparatus. The Kamil’s non-floating edges prevent that outcome (and, mysteriously, also don’t chafe, at least on me).

Of course, for legitimately larger-than-average guys, the BW M007 will almost certainly prove to be a better choice. At the end of the day, it’s simply more capacious. It’s got a bigger pouch and a slightly higher rise, and it’s rigged in a way that lets you cram more into it than you can reasonably cram into the Kamil.

Appearance: 5/5
Because I’m a ballet nerd, my metric is based on the question, “How does this thing play with tights?”

Like, does it create gigantic weird panty lines in the front? Does it cause excessive muffin-toppage if I’m at my usual training/performing weight (and not, say, immediately after coming back from winter break, or when I’ve idiotically consumed way too much salt for some reason)?

I was surprised to discover that the answer to both of these questions is a resounding no. Under black or light-grey tights, the Kamil shows through far less than I expected it to. At first glance, the Kamil’s waistband appears a little chunky, and you would think that it would catch the light under even the blackest of tights–but no. It somehow melds itself with its wearer. Don’t ask me how.

Likewise, its low-slung, kind of diagonal fit makes it less likely, on my body, to create a weird squidgy line across my gluteus medius on either side. Which is to say, in fact, that it doesn’t create said weird squidgy lines at all, even when I’m a little fluffier than usual.

For … erm … applications in which wearing only a dance belt is required (I’m looking at you, Pilobolus and Hubbard Street Dance), I’m not entirely sure how this one would fly. Does it look better than the BW M007 or the WearMoi version or anything else other than Capezio’s Quilted Terror or a Dance Diaper? That’s really kind of hard to say.

For that application, though, I am forced to admit I lean towards either the BW M007 or the WM option, simply because they both have a very sleek, finished look.

Fit: 4/5
I had to think long and hard about how to rate the Kamil for fit. Because, in fact, it’s lovely. Fits as expected, etc.

Except that it doesn’t, not at first. Most dance belts on the market are designed to be worn with the waistband level across the hips (or wherever the waistband falls).

The Kamil, on the other hand, seems to be designed so it sits higher at the back than the front, wrapping around diagonally from the sides down to the top of the pouch. In short, it echoes the path of the iliac crests. At least, it does on me. I assume that’s intentional, because frankly it’s a stroke of genius.

That said, there’s nothing in its appearance, when it’s sitting there flat, to tell you this.

So, inevitably, the first time you put it on, you try to pull it up level just like every other dance belt, and, predictably, hijinks ensue.

Once you figure out how it’s supposed to fit, though, the fit is just freaking lovely. I quite dislike elastics pressing on the pointy little hooky bits of my ilia (there’s a name for those, of course, but I can’t be bothered to look it up right now), and the Kamil avoids that entirely.

Durability: 5/5
Honestly, as gentle as the loving caress of the Kamil is, I figured it would last about three weeks before giving up the ghost mid-cabriole, forever redefining the word “Nutcracker.”
I was, in a word, wrong.

I have a couple of Kamils that I wear in rotation, and at the moment they’re the only dance belts I wear at all unless there’s some kind of laundry crisis. This means that, figuring in about 6 hours per day, 5-6 days per week on average, each is doing about 15-18 hours of active duty per week during typical rehearsal periods, and up to twice that during shows or if both my ballet company and my cirque company are rehearsing at the same time.

The only noticeable signs of wear are some minor pilling on the inside of the waistband and possibly some fading, though both my Kamils are about the same age and color, so it’s hard to say for sure.

I’m also going to go out on a limb and admit that I recently set yesterday’s Kamil atop my clothes for today, and thus wound up wearing it for two days in a row, and that I never would’ve noticed if I hadn’t found the fresh one still neatly folded under a shirt I decided not to wear.

Is the Kamil made of anti-microbial fabric?  Who knows. Maybe the magic that makes it so darned comfortable also protects it against The Dreaded Stink.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend, for example, that you wear one Kamil for days on end without washing it, but it’s nice to know that it doesn’t become repulsively rank after an extra day’s use. Because, frankly, that is a thing that happens, whether by accident (see above) or due to Further Laundry Crises.

Speaking of Laundry Crises, I have reached a point in my life at which I just DGAF anymore (seriously, I spend like 6+ hours per day dancing and often another 6 in the car, and I’m so freaking done when I get home) and basically all my ballet stuff goes into the dryer on low. My Kamils are holding up well against this completely unwarranted and undeserved mistreatment.

I did manage to pop a few stitches at the juncture of the waistband and pouch on one of them by snagging it on something en route to the washing machine, but I was able to repair it with a few stitches, and it’s doing fine.

Anyway, to sum it all up, Mariia’s Kamil is my all-time favorite dance belt. I hope they never discontinue it, because right now I can’t afford to buy a lifetime supply.

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