Red Fingers

topic posted Fri, May 19, 2006 - 7:39 AM by  Unsubscribed
Hi All,
I recently saw some Indian dancers performing at a festival and I was wondering what the red dye on the fingers is made out of?

I am a belly dancer that is beginning to fuse Indian/Hindu dancing with Belly dance and would like to add the dye on my fingers as it looks beautiful when performing.

Any tips?
posted by:
  • Re: Red Fingers

    Fri, May 19, 2006 - 8:35 AM
    hi zehara! i also answered this on indian dance tribe. the red fingers and also on the feet is an auspicious marking called alta. the deities in temples are also ornamented with alta. it used to be using sindhur / kunkuma (vermillion) but now waterproof theatrical make-up is used. dont forget to paint the sun and the moon on the inside of ur palms as well :)
  • Unsu...

    Re: Red Fingers

    Tue, December 12, 2006 - 11:47 AM
    When we dance, we use a red Sharpie marker. You'd be amazed at how fast you go through a Sharpie doing this!
    • Re: Red Fingers

      Tue, December 12, 2006 - 12:09 PM
      Hi Jenda....

      though I dont know any markers brands in the US: I think its very much better than the original altha, because the dont run off when you sweat!
      which an easily spoil your costume!


      • Unsu...

        Re: Red Fingers

        Tue, December 12, 2006 - 12:20 PM
        Hi Gauri,

        I agree--the paste that is generally used in India is extremely messy and can stain an expensive silk costume. Our guru only lets us use red markers.

        The only downside is that it can take 1-2 days to wash off completely! A friend of mine suggested henna, but I don't think the color would be red enough.
        • Re: Red Fingers

          Wed, December 13, 2006 - 9:46 AM
          Hi Jenda,

          you can remove that markers very fast with almond bran mixed with a little (!) sand from the beach.... :-) Make a paste out of it with camomile tea!!!!! and then give your hands a massage with it....

          I wouldnt use henna, because that takes weeks to remove it and usually the henna mehndi is too dark!

          For me the markers are quite ok! easy to find, easy to paint on the hands, fast to remove and no spoiled costumes - Perfect !


      • Re: Red Fingers

        Tue, April 10, 2007 - 8:07 PM
        One of my fellow students here in the US did a survey of marker brands for just this purpose. Her word was that the US-preference was "Mr. Sketch" brand. These are actually washable markers that are made for children's projects - so they wash off clothes. But they seem to be hand-moisture resistant enough to dry and avoid rubbing off on everything in sight.

        Plus you can't beat the tantalizing cherry flavor. :)

        And they are non-toxic.
        • Unsu...

          Re: Red Fingers

          Tue, April 10, 2007 - 8:14 PM
          Hi Lakshmi! Are you teaching now??

          I'll have to look for that brand--Sharpie is a difficult one to get off. I'm usually pink for a few days following a performance.
          • Re: Red Fingers

            Tue, April 17, 2007 - 12:08 PM
            I hope that someone somewhere invents a better solution than red permanent marker because it not only takes days to wash off but it even comes off on your costume. I didn't notice this on my colored costumes but I learned this the hard way with a beautiful white Kuchipudi costume. =[
          • Re: Red Fingers

            Fri, April 27, 2007 - 8:54 AM
            Here and there! I do a bunch of different dance forms and so I'm doing different teaching stuff in each. As far as Indian dance goes, I'm assistant teaching now - my teacher has a beginner class which I sit in on and help out with - singing backup or teaching a subset of the group in a corner. It's pretty neat and lets me go through the basics and really work on my skills as a teacher and dance accompanist.

            Mr. Sketch is probably easiest to find at teaching stores or kids stores - since its marketed for use by kids.
    • Re: Red Fingers

      Thu, January 24, 2008 - 2:17 PM
      Hehe - yeah - the little 'trade' secret of the red sharpie!!!! But if you do this....make sure it dries before you start walking around!!! I one time had the misfortune to leave little footprint traces on a brand-new sprung floor at someone elses' dance studio! Very embarassing ;-}
      • Re: Red Fingers

        Thu, January 24, 2008 - 2:58 PM
        Would henna be bad because it's too dark I hear? I don't mind that it would be there for a while. I rather like having my hands and feet all pretty.

        Could someone post a link to a good picture of the designs and what the colour should be? I am performing in a month and wanted to do something similar to what's being described. This also sounds like something I would like to add to certain ceremonies and puja.

        I'll run a google search after my next class but I figured some people here might have great images of it that I might not find. Thank you so much.
        • Re: Red Fingers

          Thu, January 24, 2008 - 5:04 PM
          Try this:

          This girl has a lot of great henna patterns. And if you use henna, be sure to look for good quality henna, otherwise the colour won't be nice. I tried (obviously bad) henna on my hands a week before my performance, and let me tell you, it was not a pretty sight. It was light brown and I looked like I had some kind of skin disease. Fortunately, since I've tried it a week before performing, I had time to wash it off. :o)
        • Unsu...

          Re: Red Fingers

          Sat, January 26, 2008 - 7:00 AM
          I am not sure that I would do henna or fancy designs for a Bharatanatyam performance. At least, I've not seen it done. I also think my guru would flip if we even suggested it. She likes us all to look consistent in appearance and consistent in performance.

          I paint all of my nails red, and then use the marker to cover my fingertips from the first bend to the tip. Then a solid circle in the palm of my hand.

          My feel also get a circle, and I cover all of my toes with the marker, sometimes going onto the metatarsal area. Then all around my foot I trace a thick red line so that it looks like the red is touching the ground.

          This dancer's markings are just like my own:
  • Re: Red Fingers

    Sat, December 5, 2009 - 4:27 PM
    Hands down, my favorite is Marks-A-Lot. It is a DARK RED, and shows up well even on my dark skin. And it STAYS ON through HOURS of performing! I like it better than the other markers.
  • Re: Red Fingers

    Sat, March 3, 2012 - 11:07 AM
    After several long efforts to find this lovely exotic look, I finally found and purchased this product from the "All India Store" thru Amazon for $9.75. USD. "Drawing Alta Red Dye For Hands and Feet Natural Deco 50 ml"
    I'll let you know how well it works.
    Hope this helps!

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