The cost of Bellydance

What are the expenses to having a performer at your event, what is the cost for a performer to become a professional Bellydancer.

The lights are low as the rhythm of the music calls out the entrance of the Bellydancer.

Shimmering and beautiful she works through the audience bringing smiles, cheers and giggles to all.

So smooth and so elegant creating a magical moment in everyone life.

months later you say to yourself while planning an event how much will a Belly dancer cost?

Well here is everything you need to know to book a Bellydancer or to become a Bellydancer.

BOOKING A BELLYDANCER:

there are a few factors that play into the total expense.

Where is your event.

When is your event.

How big, how many guests will be at your event.

How many dancers would you like at this event.

Are there lights, sound, meal, parking, dressing area included.

Will there be tips encouraged.

How many sets/shows will you want.

how long would you like each set.

I know this sounds like a lot of factors to plan for but that is what makes your performer a professional.

Of course each city has a different pricing structure.

Here is Salt Lake City, Utah breakdown in USD

For a professional Bellydancer to show up ready for the average 20 minute set the general rate is $175.00 plus tips.

Now keep in mind if they need to travel for an hour to get to your event they will probably add on $25.00

or if it is a holiday or a show after 9PM they will add on $50.00-$100.00

Now of course there is a quick 5-10 minute show called a Bellygram where the dancer is there to bring good wishes to someone at work or dinner as a fun surprise show, this generally runs $150.00.

If you are hosting a large event for say a wedding or New years and are expecting around 200 guests the chances are you will professional lights, sound and staging you may want to book two sets or a whole troupe .

You want to be sure your dancers are capable of large venue stages, a student group might not be the right fit here.

The cost for a soloist in this setting will average around $275.00 for two 15 minute sets that generally includes a costume change, props like a veil, swords, finger cymbals and cane.

For a Group of 4 expect $125.00 per dancer per set.

Now I know what is going through your mind here...that sounds so expensive...can anyone do it cheaper?

Well of course someone will always give it away for next to nothing, which i suppose is fine if you have a performer in the family to dance at your gig for free.

Or I hear a lot our event is special, you will get advertising from it...well in over 20 years of performing I have never gotten another gig or student from one of those events, so unless you are saving Kittens DON'T ASK FOR A FREE GIG!

Honestly people would you walk into a boutique and ask for a free shirt and pants...NO.

So lets look at the expenses for a performer so you can put all of this pricing into context.

Education: Average classes cost $10 per week x 4 weeks per month x 12 months =$480.00 per year

Most professionals spend at least double this amount to take from Professionals from around the world on top of ongoing classes from a local instructor. Some dancers including Shahravar travel to other countries to study immersed in the culture of Bellydance this brings an unmatched authenticity that a student or discount performer may not be able to bring to an event.

Insurance: A true Professional will maintain some type of certification for teaching classes such as ACE or AFFA or Yoga teacher training where they will also maintain insurance, protecting them and their students from injury and also ensures continuing education. On average this runs $200.00 per year.

Travel: Well as you know gas is not getting any cheaper(nor should it) the usual travel time is 30 minutes each way including parking time and expense...1 hour travel=$20-$30

Music: Ah yes it is not just free for us to own. Now a live band is wonderful but not the usual that runs about $400.00 per night. The dancer will spend about 30-40 minutes building your playlist/show onto a CD-IPOD-COMPUTER so that it is able to be be played back seamlessly. The average digital album runs about $8-$10 on say Amazon. Blank CD's are about $2 software to run the program is a little bit more if you want to be sure there are no glitches in the music like too much bass or to high of vocals or sudden endings...Every show must be perfect!

Props: Most Bellydance shows will include traditional props such as Finger cymbals/Zills these average $50-$90 per set. Swords will cost about $100.00 each. Veils of Silk and Chiffon are around $50. Isis Wings in the Egyptian style are around $30. Woven Baskets cost about $30. Saidi style cane or Tahtib cost about $25. Silk fans will be about $50 per set. Saudi style Kallegi thobe runs $75-$100. Candelabra or Shemedan runs about $100. Granted this is an investment, an occasional expense and not a weekly one.

Time: For a dancer to compose a show for you. Say Egyptian style music, costuming, props, make-up and hair you are looking at 2hours of prep time. When you add it all up $175.00 is a steal! so please tip your dancer.(when you are at a restaurant and you tip on the bill, that is for your server...not the dancer)

Costumes: Well this is probably the most expensive part of a Professional Bellydancers set.

There are costumes and fabric from Turkey, Egypt, Russia, US, India, Greece, Saudi Arabia.

Just like Ballroom and Samba we see that a costume can make or break a show. The average costume will run from $200.00 up to $2,000.00 Folkloric coin Bra and Belt Bedlah will run about $200.00-$400.00

This next set is probably a bit more beneficial for dancers looking to break into the professional Bellydancer world.

First off ask your self what do you want out of your dance?

Fame? Money? Travel? well if you want all three you will probably need to move to California where there is a bigger support system for Bellydancers.

You can join a show such as Jillina's to be an understudy.

Or you can pay to compete in all of the hundreds of competitions around the world, with travel and fees the average cost to compete is around $600.00

When you are first learning to Bellydance you should take from a few different instructors to learn to develop your own style not just copy another dancer.

Learn your basic styles: Egyptian, Arabic, Turkish, Greek, Debke, American, Indian, Romani.

Learn your Basic rhythms: Beledi, Masmoodi, Turkish, Ayoob, Bolero, Saidi, Karachi.

Stay consistent: in your private practice & classes work each week to help develop good habits and to build connections.

Perform: try to perform at least once a month to work on your skills.

Improv: learn to improvise to different music styles.

Professional website: $200.00 per year.

Professional Photos: $200.00-$500.00 per session.

Video: This can be free or professional depending what your target audience is. $0-$1,000


But how will the world change in the midst of a Pandemic?

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Shah Ko-fi