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  1. #1
    Member AndreaSTL's Avatar
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    Default Why we can't have nice things

    I got this e-mail a few days ago from a local dancer who is putting on an event. I debated sharing it, but I'm so frustrated & sad I decided to do it. Here is the e-mail:

    Greetings fellow dancers and friends!

    (Event name and date)
    This is going to be an amazing weekend filled with live music, bellydance, art, workshops, afterparty and vending. I would like you all to be there and be a part of it!
    I am sending this email recruiting dancers to dance to live music.
    The show will be held at (location), there will most likely be two shows, one Friday and another Saturday.

    The confirmed band lineup is as follows:
    Band 1
    Band 2
    Band 3

    I am waiting confirmation on a few other bands and looking for performers.
    While i will not be able to pay performers because all the proceeds will go into paying the bands, venue and travel expenses for the bands - I will do some kind of nice thank you gift. (end e-mail)

    This is a talented dancer, and I'm happy she's organizing events. I'm not so happy that dancers are considered little more than props to her musical evening. The bands rate a gig fee and travel expenses, but the dancers do not. She often will dance at festivals and other events in exchange for exposure. While I'm not exactly marketable and this doesn't affect my bottom line, it devalues the dance and the dancers. I know I don't have to plead my case with you guys, but I had to share and get it off my chest.

  2. #2
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Default



    I haven't used that particular smilie in years and here I've used it twice in a single day. Which planet is retrograde right now?

    Chorale singers run into the same thing. Instrumentalists in the orchestra are paid, singers are not; even though one cannot do Mozart's Requiem, Handel's Messiah, or Beethoven's Fifth without a choir, chorale vocalists are too often not considered musicians. Soloists are different, of course. If your dress is anything but concert black, you are important.

    Did she, I wonder, ever consider paying a single band so she could pay the other performers?

    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  3. #3
    Member AndreaSTL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    Did she, I wonder, ever consider paying a single band so she could pay the other performers?
    I don't know for sure, but I doubt it. Then it wouldn't be the big to-do that she wants to present. Plus, since she already dances for free she doesn't even value her own performance so I'm not surprised she doesn't value others'. The sad thing is she will have dancers who come because OMG! They'll, like, get to dance on stage with a band in a real show and everything.

  4. #4
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    She can pay the bands, and she can provide a gift for those who dance but she cannot pay the dancers? If she can provide a gift, why can't she pay the dancers?

  5. #5
    Moderator Zorba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    ....Beethoven's Fifth without a choir....
    PSSST! I think you meant Beethoven's *Ninth*!

  6. #6
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Duh. Long day. A fifth of anything sounded pretty good.

    I also meant Verdi's Requiem.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  7. #7
    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teela View Post
    She can pay the bands, and she can provide a gift for those who dance but she cannot pay the dancers? If she can provide a gift, why can't she pay the dancers?
    EXACTLY what I thought when I read that. >:/ I'm not a business expert, but it sounds to me like she needs to learn a few things about courtesy and common sense, but as was pointed out, if she doesn't even value her own dancing, she's bringing down herself and every dancer in that area.

    How to change her attitude? I don't have the answer to that.

  8. #8
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teela View Post
    ... she can provide a gift for those who dance but she cannot pay the dancers? If she can provide a gift, why can't she pay the dancers?
    Because a small gift looks like a nice thank you; the cost of it in cold hard cash looks derisory.

    Is this directed at professionally performing dancers (in which case oh puhleaze, I don't put on an eyelash for that)? Or open stage all-comers?

    I'm conflicted. I agree it does highlight that the bandS (count 'em... ) get payment and expenses and aren't expected to do it for the fun/ experience/ exposure, but dancers are - even if you know that's what happens, rubbing your nose in it makes you go huh?

    But there's a spectrum for me. At one end is the commercial show pitched at a paying audience where someone is aiming to make a real profit - in which case all performers should be paid properly.

    And at the other the type of show/ hafla where maybe one invited performer gets paid and the rest of us are basically getting up and doing a party piece. Why would you expect to be paid for that? It's about the dancers, and if we want a hired DJ or catering or staging or a band and none of them are prepared to do it for free, then unless our belly dance fairy godmother is throwing us a party we all have to chip in to pay for it.

    And in the middle a huge grey area. My teacher is taking us to perform in a big event soon (with student label firmly attached ) - am I undervaluing myself to do it for nothing? What if we are terrible (you get what you pay for, LOL)? Are we only undervaluing ourselves if we are good and start being some sort of threat to the professionals? (another king size order of LOL - just being hypothetical here).

    I guess the difference is that my value to the hafla organiser is pretty much nil unless a) I bring hordes of fans and followers, or b) there's a scarcity of dancers willing to do their party pieces. Either of which might start making paynent of some kind an option. Ah. Hang on, maybe no difference. Same applies to the commercial producer... (short pause with cogs in brain turning over... to be continued)...

  9. #9
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Right. Umm... thinking as I go, bear with me...So it seems to be looking pretty much the same as my by dancers for dancers local hafla rather than the BDSS as far as commercial models go.

    Assuming she is not making an evil secret profit off her fellow dancers' work or being a hopeless organiser squandering funds elsewhere - sure she could pay the dancers too, valuing their contribution and all, but if the books don't balance that's it - no event, or no repeat.

    Is the horrible economic bottom line that not enough people want to pay to see these dancers/ events for it to work any other way? If you want to perform but nobody much wants to watch, you have to pay-to-play at some level. As a hobbyist I've paid for a whole series of workshops for a live music opportunity and would again.

    I feel there's a line not to cross in this that has to do with not messing it up for other people.

    (got to go and make cake now. )

  10. #10
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    If musicians are being paid, dancers should be paid.

    If she's throwing a hafla with recorded music and a volunteer disc jockey and charging just enough at the door to cover the cost of the venue, then fine, invite people to dance just for the heck of it.

    But F*&^ this noise about only paying some of the performers at the expense of the others.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

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