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  1. #21
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    Hmm... this is a tricky one. I agree with Charity to some degree. Personally, I don't think I'd charge a charity. They aren't exactly made fo money... But it is hard for someone trying to cut it as a dancer.

    I would have just done the show I think and seen it as a chance of exposure maybe... I'm not very fussed bout money though (which is why I never have any! )

  2. #22
    Senior Member Gia al Qamar's Avatar
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    It may not be this way universally...but where I live and dance, Senior Centers, Convalescent Centers, Homes for the Elderly and Nursing Homes ALL have entertainment budgets. The reason that many dancers cut their rates to perform there is to enable them to afford good entertainment for their staff & residents. These kinds of establishments are 'for profit' and have staff, are state & government subsidised and are run like any other business.
    Likewise...Those places that aren't as 'well off' and have no budget for entertainment usually are upfront when they solicit free shows and are quite happy to work with anyone who'll donate their talents.
    Gia

  3. #23
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sara View Post
    Hmm... this is a tricky one. I agree with Charity to some degree. Personally, I don't think I'd charge a charity. They aren't exactly made fo money... But it is hard for someone trying to cut it as a dancer.

    I would have just done the show I think and seen it as a chance of exposure maybe... I'm not very fussed bout money though (which is why I never have any! )
    Dear Sara,
    Almost all of the professional dancers that I know do donate a certain amount of time to a charity or other worthwhile cause. The problem is that in many places, people want belly dancers to donate TONS of time to a good cause. I often get " It will be good publicity". I do not need them to generate publicity for me unless they are a publicity agent. I need them to pay me for my time and talent because this is the way I make my living. I am sure that the activities director in any Senior Citizens' home is not donating her own time, so why should she expect ME to do so? My dance company dances at one function every year for free right now. Both the entertainers and the organizers work for free to put on the Fall Folk Festival, which is a wonderful multi cultural event here. I worked on their board for two years and know this is the truth. When we are asked to do other free gigs, they are up for negotiation among members. Occasionally we say yes, but mostly we do not dance for free; not at fairs, not at other dancers' events unless it is a hafla, and not at any place where people are making a living, because we need to make money, too.
    Belly dancers often are so eager to dance that they get duped into dancing all kinds of places for free, like every city event, nursing homes, county and state fairs, etc. Our standard is that if anyone gets paid, so do we. That means that if someone famous is doing a show and they want us to dance as his opening act, WE get paid. If not, he can find someone who will dance for free. Belly dancers are destroying their won markets by dancing too much for free. I bet nobody expects a ballerina to show up and dance at the nursing home for zip. I once was contacted by the Brothers of the Baladi, who were doing a show here and getting paid. They wanted dancers who would dance for "the experience". Yeah, whatever... were they playing for "the experience"?? Believe me when I say that Michael Beach had no problem whatsoever finding some dancers who WOULD perform for free. They were idiots to let themselves be treated so badly.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  4. #24
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    I wouldn't have shown up and done it for less/free cos it was for old folks. There's a big difference between giving your time and effort as a voluntary thing and having someone try to con you into it by promising payment then trying to back out. Doing it for less than what you agreed sends all the wrong messages, you might as well have "doormat" written across the back of your belt (in sequins of course).

    [Bart sees Krusty standing in the street holding a sign that says "will drop pants for food".]
    Bart: Huh! Oh no! Krusty are you making any money?
    Krusty: Nah, That guy's giving it away for free! [points]
    Crazy old man: Old grey mare, she ain't what she used to be, ain't what she used to be, ain't what she used to be...

    [Krusty turns on TV and finds the Crazy Old Man in his underwear dancing.]
    Crazy old man: Old grey mare she ain't what she used to be, ain't what she used to be, ain't what she used to be...
    TV announcer: And now the Crazy Old Man Singers.
    Crazy Old Men: Old grey mare she ain't what she used to be, ain't what she used to be...

  5. #25
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    There's a big difference between giving your time and effort as a voluntary thing and having someone try to con you into it by promising payment then trying to back out.
    Exactly. Precisely.

  6. #26
    V.I.P. Kharmine's Avatar
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    I think this is a problem with the arts, in general. Both as a performer and a writer, I've often been pressured, subtly and not so, to "donate" my work for free after I think I'm being aproached for a legitimate hire.

    I prefer to donate anything at my own convenience and discretion.

  7. #27
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    People have a tendency to think that visual art, writing, dancing, and related fields are "not real work." People feel free to ask us to donate our work product because, after all, they're just asking us to play, right? And aren't we just horribly grateful for some free publicity and a chance to do our thing in public? Some people also seem to think it gives them leeway to ask personal questions about income and job history that they'd never dream of asking me about my legal assistant position (which is real work, of course.) I've lost count of the people who have asked (usually quite agressively), "Are you published?" upon hearing I am a writer, or "What gallery shows your work?" upon hearing I am an artist.

  8. #28
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    Hi everyone and thanks for all the good advice.
    I totally agree about giving things away for free. I run my own showcase/hafla and although the dancers do dance for free they are usually dancing for other dancers and actually come away with lots of tips. I also dance at haflas for free and make lots of tips. But.....when someone hires me I expect my rate to be paid. When the lady called me the first thing out her mouth was that she had a very limited budget. I would like to do a little charity work for the seniors so that is why I gave her a good deal right off the bat. I don't think she ever intended to pay me my requested rate. Her whole tactic was to call me right before and try for less. Since she was really close to my house and since I was dressed I grudgingly accepted but my compromise was to dance for less time. The fact that she wasn't grateful for whatever she could get was insulting!
    What bothered me most is what I hear from lots of people. She said she knew girls who could dance for less than $50!!!!! who???? probably some semi-slutty chick who had taken 2 classes and owned a coin belt and a shakira album! And this is what bugs! No dancer should undercut another. And I don't think that many professional dancers do. But the above named slutty-chick does. And the the standard is not only brought down but the public that sees her is less educated about belly dance then they were in the first place! I hope Vito not only makes a visit to the nursing home but to every slutty-wannabe-belly dancer chick out there who dances for $50 parties!!!!
    Not that I do not support everyone who wants to learn.....but keep that in the practice room or the hafla and not in the professional arena.
    When I first started I wouldn't make a move without my teacher's approval.
    So now one more question.......
    When someone asks how many minutes you will be dancing at your party what do you tell them??? This is the #1 question everyone asks me. Maybe I am answering it wrong. What do you guys say?

  9. #29
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I don't know what the custom is now, but I used to say flatly, "Two twenty minute sets for x- amount of money." Then I'd dance each set a little longer just for added value to the customer, and those that timed me were delighted with their bargain and asked me back.

  10. #30
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eshta amar View Post
    Hi everyone and thanks for all the good advice.
    I totally agree about giving things away for free. I run my own showcase/hafla and although the dancers do dance for free they are usually dancing for other dancers and actually come away with lots of tips. I also dance at haflas for free and make lots of tips. But.....when someone hires me I expect my rate to be paid. When the lady called me the first thing out her mouth was that she had a very limited budget. I would like to do a little charity work for the seniors so that is why I gave her a good deal right off the bat. I don't think she ever intended to pay me my requested rate. Her whole tactic was to call me right before and try for less. Since she was really close to my house and since I was dressed I grudgingly accepted but my compromise was to dance for less time. The fact that she wasn't grateful for whatever she could get was insulting!
    What bothered me most is what I hear from lots of people. She said she knew girls who could dance for less than $50!!!!! who???? probably some semi-slutty chick who had taken 2 classes and owned a coin belt and a shakira album! And this is what bugs! No dancer should undercut another. And I don't think that many professional dancers do. But the above named slutty-chick does. And the the standard is not only brought down but the public that sees her is less educated about belly dance then they were in the first place! I hope Vito not only makes a visit to the nursing home but to every slutty-wannabe-belly dancer chick out there who dances for $50 parties!!!!
    Not that I do not support everyone who wants to learn.....but keep that in the practice room or the hafla and not in the professional arena.
    When I first started I wouldn't make a move without my teacher's approval.
    So now one more question.......
    When someone asks how many minutes you will be dancing at your party what do you tell them??? This is the #1 question everyone asks me. Maybe I am answering it wrong. What do you guys say?

    Dear Eshta,
    Usually I find that in the typical party situation, one 15 minute or two 10 minute dances is enough, depending on how long the party is. At a 3 hour long party, there is no real need for the dancer more than once unless it is Middle Eastern themed and/or they want continuous dancing in the background for some reason. I usually find out what is going on, what the party is all about and then advise the client accordingly. If it is someone's birthday, they really in most circumstances do not need more than a 10-15 minute dance. It it's a party for a Middle Eastern student's graduation, or a wedding, then you might dance more than once, but do different dances, such as sharghi and shamadan or beledi w/ cymbals.
    My dance company charges a set rate by the 15 minute increment and by the number of dancers. Our prices are lower than many areas in the country because we live in an economically repressed area. In Seattle, I would ask almost twice what I ask in Spokane.
    Regards,
    A'isha

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