Want to buy a Bata de Cola? Read this first.

Bata de Cola dress needs a really long train


Bata the cola, is the Queen of flamenco skirts with its really long train.  It has a really difficult technique, but when a dancer knows how to move the bata, it becomes a work of art.  The skirt moves in all directions the dancer moves. The tail stops right where she wants to, and it just flows with grace.  However, the bata de cola, can have a mind of its own, it is very difficult to master because of its weight and length, so the inexperienced dancer (me) looks like she is fighting a possessed skirt.  In my teacher's words, " Como no tengan cuidado, la bata os posee".




It is said that the tail should be as long as you are tall or longer.

No matter how good your technique is, if you have a "bad" bata de cola, you just cannot dance.




What to look for in a Bata de cola?

Fabric:

if you are buying or ordering a custom practice skirt, make sure the fabric you choose is wrinkle proof, maybe woven polyester, here it is called "strech".  You will need double the amount of material, because the skirt needs two layers of fabric in order not to rip at the seams from its own weight.  Then some more of the same fabric, if your ruffles are the same color.  I had to buy over 20 meters of fabric for my skirt and another 10 for the ruffles.  The seamstress will let you know how much to buy, or she may even buy it herself.




A new skirt in the making.  Look at the train it is almost perpendicular to the skirt.




All Skirts are lined completely, this one is lined in a different color.  





This skirt was made with a cool contrasting red underside. 
 Like an african Grey parrot.


Under the skirt:
The underside of the skirt is made of a stiff tulle like material, which provides more stability to the skirt, called cancan, allowing the skirt to open like a fan when in the air.  Many people choose contrasting colors for the underside to add beauty. Either way, a student skirt or simple bata, will cost between 300 to 500 Euros or more depending on fabric, number of ruffles and design.  

To add even more stability to the skirt, sometimes a rope about the thickness of a pinky is inserted into the hem completing the entire circumference.  This adds weight.  However the new skirts I have seen, don't have them.  This is probably an old technique slowly disappearing.  





First the tail has to be lined with the "cancan" for strength and weight.
Then the ruffles are added







Width:
The skirt must not be too narrow, because you still have to be able to dance in it.  This is not a feria skirt which are really tight and difficult to move in.  The Bata de cola technique requires basic classical dance moves, like, "attitude, plié, arabesque, relevé, ronde de jambe"  and more, so you have to be able to move in it.





Notice the new cut in the skirts, narrow above (waist and hips)
 and open at the bottom,
much like the wedding dresses






Notice the difference in the train from the previous photo?
This is the traditional cut.  Much wider.

Ruffles:
Probably as many as you can afford and your ability to move the skirt.  The more ruffles, the heavier and more expensive it is. However if your bata doest have enough ruffles,  the bata looks plain, and bit boring.  So a minimum of 3 - 4 ruffles at the front and about 7 - 8 at the back is a good number (my opinion).  The picture above has only 3 ruffles all the way around. 




This skirt has 8 ruffles on the tail, and probably 4-5 at the front.


Length
The length of the train is also very important.  When you extend your leg to the sides, your foot should be covered by the skirt.  Your train should be long enough to be able to wrap around you at least once while on the ground, and when you pick up your tail, you should be able to extend your arm upward with the skirt on your hand, and have enough fabric to do so comfortably.  The correct shape of the tail is to end in a point at the longest part, because this little extra fabric will help keep the skirt back and extended, otherwise when you dance, it will have the tendency to come back under your heels.  




Bata de Cola dress is made for dancing, gorgeous!


The most elegant bata is a full dress, but I think the high waisted skirt is more versatile, just change the top and you have a different outfit! 

There are also other bata de colas made for show, and for parading around, like the Copla singer, or for weddings, but the cut, weight, and length, are not as relevant because they are not for dancing.


Love the colors in this dress!
Lost track of the number of ruffles.


Beautiful for a wedding, no?


Just for the runway, not for dancing.


Unfortunately making a Bata de Cola is not an exact science and there are many variations.  Some people will tell you it is trial and error, but this can be a very expensive mistake.  Good luck, you will need it.  I'm still searching for my perfect Bata.

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