Die and I are both quite nearsighted. She wears glasses sometimes, while I can’t. Die says she wears whatever’s available (glasses or contacts, not someone else’s underpants), but I’m used to seeing her – and all other TTE dancers – without glasses.
The argument against glasses:
Most bellydancers don’t wear glasses to perform, and some have very strong feelings about this. A lot of bellydancers would argue that this dance form is presenting a specific kind of fantasy, and that glasses jar people out of fantasy and into the present. This makes sense to me when the dancer is playing a character of any kind (which can include “fantasy Middle Eastern restaurant dancer”).
I tend to think of it this way – the characters we play don’t specifically wear glasses. I’m used to theatrical performance, where you wear what your character wears. See it from the audience’s perspective: whatever you wear becomes part of the character’s appearance. In dancing, we alter our appearances way less than we would were we acting, but that still holds true – it’s not as though audiences can just decide not to see your glasses.
Stan, who’s played by Die, does wear glasses. He also wears a hat and boots; these things are all costume elements for Stan the way having a ridiculous moustache is a costume element for Xavi (played by me).
Likewise, when we specifically want to evoke a quotidien feeling in a performance, we’ll wear the dance equivalent of jeans and a t-shirt: a plain cotton choli paired with simple dance pants. Then I might get to see Die dance in her glasses, playing Die.
And the argument for glasses:
In ATS I like to think we’re playing ourselves. I think this is also true for most hobbyist dancers, in non-professional performance situation. We might be playing pretty, sparklier versions of ourselves, but part of the magic of this dance form for many people is the sense it gives us that our bodies are beautiful just as they are (they’re just more beautiful with glitter and adornment, perhaps).
So. Arguably if non-dancing Die wears glasses, so should the dancing version, right? [I'm still trying to convince her of this.]
Provided our costume and accessories don’t knock into our eyewear in inconvenient and unpredictable ways & our glasses are fitted to our heads well enough not to fall off, there’s no specific reason bellydancers need to take off their glasses. Certainly, if any dancer cannot see well enough to perform without glasses, it’s much more important to see than to present a character with 20/20 vision – cause, let’s face it, you’re not going to act that part very well if you’re running into your fellow dancers).