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Thread: Is this normal?

  1. #11
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    Suhad,
    Regarding your friend/agent, personally you need to call her on her not supporting you. If she is a true friend she will listen, if she still doesn't stand by you ( which in turn aids other dancers when ground rules are laid) then honestly she is not a friend nor a very good agent. maybe you need to be your own agent???? Write a some sort of guidelines and payment for X amount of time per set, sit down with the owner, not the keyboard player, he sounds like a lacky because the owner doesn't want to deal with the situation.... make the owner deal with it, he is the one who pays you.

    Explain to him how long it takes to get ready and distance travelled etc, explain that $50 is extremely fair for 15 minutes and that many other belly dancers won't even get out of bed for that LOL!

    The owner may jack up, and then you will have to weigh things up, or try to come to some compromise with the owner if you want to keep the job.

    Here in Australia, greek restaurants often have belly dancers, do you have any Greek places near to where you are? Maybe try for some new places, and immediately lay the ground rules with some form of contract.

    I am sorry that is all I can suggest. maybe it will give you some little bit of food for thought.
    ~Mosaic
    Last edited by Mosaic; 02-10-2008 at 05:38 AM. Reason: Corrected Greek I had put geek LOL

  2. #12
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    I cannot believe the rates in the US. It's a rare (good)dancer here who dances for less than 100$ for a 20 min set and some demand more.
    If you don't ask for more you don't get it. Of course we have the fools who dance for a plate of pasta and sweat away all night but they are generally used as a knock about!
    How can that rate of pay be acceptable? You are an entertainer who has invested time and money in music, training and suitable costuming. You have got to worth more. S*d "experience" and demand your worth plus travelling!This isn't a hobby, it's way of being rewarded for your talent and the work you do to bring in more customers.
    If you accept a low rate of pay you are setting a precedent for all dancers. All should take a stand and let' em do without if they won't pay. They are not doing you a favour. You are an employee who demands proper recompense.

  3. #13
    V.I.P. Reen.Blom's Avatar
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    Suhad, sweetie pie, dont let them walk over you! There are people like that that try to get every last bit of you! (and other dancers!) If you can afford the luxury to stand up for your opinion and your dignity(some people depend on the show money) that by all means do so!!!

    Hugs and best wishes,
    reen.blom

  4. #14
    V.I.P. Reen.Blom's Avatar
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    Big Grin

    Quote Originally Posted by Mosaic View Post
    Suhad,
    Regarding your friend/agent, personally you need to call her on her not supporting you. If she is a true friend she will listen, if she still doesn't stand by you ( which in turn aids other dancers when ground rules are laid) then honestly she is not a friend nor a very good agent. maybe you need to be your own agent???? Write a some sort of guidelines and payment for X amount of time per set, sit down with the owner, not the keyboard player, he sounds like a lacky because the owner doesn't want to deal with the situation.... make the owner deal with it, he is the one who pays you.

    Explain to him how long it takes to get ready and distance travelled etc, explain that $50 is extremely fair for 15 minutes and that many other belly dancers won't even get out of bed for that LOL!

    The owner may jack up, and then you will have to weigh things up, or try to come to some compromise with the owner if you want to keep the job.

    Here in Australia, greek restaurants often have belly dancers, do you have any Greek places near to where you are? Maybe try for some new places, and immediately lay the ground rules with some form of contract.

    I am sorry that is all I can suggest. maybe it will give you some little bit of food for thought.
    ~Mosaic
    Mosaic,

    This is the way to go ! Bravo!

  5. #15
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Dance rates, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by lizaj View Post
    I cannot believe the rates in the US. It's a rare (good)dancer here who dances for less than 100$ for a 20 min set and some demand more.
    If you don't ask for more you don't get it. Of course we have the fools who dance for a plate of pasta and sweat away all night but they are generally used as a knock about!
    How can that rate of pay be acceptable? You are an entertainer who has invested time and money in music, training and suitable costuming. You have got to worth more. S*d "experience" and demand your worth plus travelling!This isn't a hobby, it's way of being rewarded for your talent and the work you do to bring in more customers.
    If you accept a low rate of pay you are setting a precedent for all dancers. All should take a stand and let' em do without if they won't pay. They are not doing you a favour. You are an employee who demands proper recompense.

    Dear Lisaj,
    The United States is a great, huge, country, with many economic pockets with different economic situations. Regarding financial compensation, one can not ask in the back woods of Oregon what they can get in New York City. My rates are $90 for a 15 minute set at a party, but club and restaurant rates are MUCH lower. At times, not half that if the owners have cutie pies in scanty costumes all lines up waiting to dance, ( or, in many cases, whatever it is we want to call their darling little gyrations), for tips. Now, if said cutie pie can dance well, I think I am about twice as offended that she would sell herself so short.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  6. #16
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    The UK is a small country with huge variations in rates of pay and housing and entertainment costs. That is no reason why a dancer should sell herself short. What is the point of dancing if you don't cover your expenses?
    Oh so Little Miss NO Brain-NO talent will dance. So what! Let her make a prat of herself and be exploited. You demand a decent rate and eventually the penny will drop that the clientele are NOT impressed and the restauranteur has to think about quality to pull in the diners. It takes time but it's about working together. The only restaurants here who regularly have dancers and survivehire good dancers. Of course they TRY to get them cheaply but luckily good dancers in the community have stuck to their guns to refuse less pay.
    I don't dance in retaurants. I am too old and unfashionably larger. But I go to them and even the non belly dancers in the audience will soon make fun of a cr*ppy dancer in dross clothing. As I say the ones who survive in my town and I know that for other nearby cities too, put on tasteful and talented dancers with good costuming.
    So Mr Conman Costas says drive 50 miles and I pay you £20 sterling for the night. Dancers would laugh in his face here and stay home with her fluffy slippers ,watching a good DVD, waiting for the restauranteur with the respect and savvy to give her a decent rate for her efforts.

  7. #17
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Clubs, etc.

    Dear Lisaj,

    Quote Originally Posted by lizaj View Post
    The UK is a small country with huge variations in rates of pay and housing and entertainment costs. That is no reason why a dancer should sell herself short. What is the point of dancing if you don't cover your expenses?

    A. writes- Personally, this is my job and I need to do more than cover expenses.


    Oh so Little Miss NO Brain-NO talent will dance. So what! Let her make a prat of herself and be exploited. You demand a decent rate and eventually the penny will drop that the clientele are NOT impressed and the restauranteur has to think about quality to pull in the diners.


    A. writes- If only it really worked that way!!! Most people have not been trained to tell a good dancer from a bad one and often can not unless they are dancing practically side by side. They often go in for the girl that is the cutest and friendliest. the clientele are impressed by things like the dancer looking good, the dancer having an outgoing personality and being willing to chat up the customers, etc. Often it is not about the dance at all in clubs in restaurants.

    It takes time but it's about working together. The only restaurants here who regularly have dancers and survivehire good dancers. Of course they TRY to get them cheaply but luckily good dancers in the community have stuck to their guns to refuse less pay.

    A. writes- That's nice because I can not say the same for most of the clubs I have been in in the U.S.

    I don't dance in retaurants. I am too old and unfashionably larger. But I go to them and even the non belly dancers in the audience will soon make fun of a cr*ppy dancer in dross clothing. As I say the ones who survive in my town and I know that for other nearby cities too, put on tasteful and talented dancers with good costuming.

    A. writes- Good costuming seems to be a must, but tasteful and talented dancing are often not even the same thing!! Dina and Fifi are both cases in point; both are talented.... but tasteful???

    So Mr Conman Costas says drive 50 miles and I pay you £20 sterling for the night. Dancers would laugh in his face here and stay home with her fluffy slippers ,watching a good DVD, waiting for the restauranteur with the respect and savvy to give her a decent rate for her efforts.
    A. writes- Too bad all dancers do not get that! Many do not seem to. They instead seem to need the spotlight too badly to wait until the can do a decent job of dancing.
    Regards, A'isha

  8. #18
    Member Suhad's Avatar
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    OK, regarding the pay:

    I said in my first post that $50 is the going rate in my neck of the woods. There is a restaurant here that pays only $20 for a nearly half hour set...and they have their own in house dancers who are quite happy to do it. Why? Because they walk out with several hundred dollars worth of tips in an average night.

    This I think is the biggest problem. The restaurant owners, and as a result the dancers, rely on tips to make the wage decent. Which is great (although I still think it's rather crappy of the owner) if the place DOES tip. When it doesn't tip well, when the owner doesn't start the tipping and show that it's OK and this is how it's done, THAT's when the low wage becomes a sticking point.

    Recently in my community there has been a price war of sorts, and I hear through the grapevine that many places that were formerly paying $50 are now paying $35 for the same set.

    There really is no respect for the dance here, or for the musicians. My drum instructor says it has always been that way here, and he doesn't know why either...he moved here originally in the early 80's but had to go back to New York City because he couldn't support his family.

  9. #19
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Suhad;63234]OK, regarding the pay:

    I said in my first post that $50 is the going rate in my neck of the woods. There is a restaurant here that pays only $20 for a nearly half hour set...and they have their own in house dancers who are quite happy to do it. Why? Because they walk out with several hundred dollars worth of tips in an average night.

    This I think is the biggest problem. The restaurant owners, and as a result the dancers, rely on tips to make the wage decent. Which is great (although I still think it's rather crappy of the owner) if the place DOES tip. When it doesn't tip well, when the owner doesn't start the tipping and show that it's OK and this is how it's done, THAT's when the low wage becomes a sticking point.


    Dear Suhad,
    And then, what do you do with dancers like me? I never did like going out for tips and mostly did not. If someone close to the dance floor made it a point that they wanted to tip me, I would usually go over and acknowledge them, take the tip with my hand, and thank them and move on. Going out for tips was just never anything that I saw as enhancing the dance when I worked in clubs and restaurants. On the other hand, I also was not relying on that money to feed my kids as some dancers are forced to do because they do not make a good wage.
    Regards,
    A'isha
    Last edited by Aisha Azar; 02-11-2008 at 06:23 PM.

  10. #20
    Member Suhad's Avatar
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    Aisha, I feel your pain on this one! I feel like I am 'trolling for tips' when I go table to table, so I try to just give a very short time at each one. I ask how the food is, or play a little with the kids, or try to get someone up to dance a little, but I don't ever expect tips and I feel weird about getting them, at least as far as the standard here is for people to put them in one's bra strap or hip belt.

    Update to the story: I did some research of my own, just to confirm what I already knew -- the longest sets that dancers who dance there do is 20 minutes. If they are dancing with the live band, they may go a little longer if they are getting good tips and the band sees that, otherwise it's 20 minutes. I tried to contact my friend/agent several times, she hasn't returned my phone calls. HOWEVER. This morning she emailed me to say that she had spoken with the restaurant owner, who stated HIS expectation is that we will dance for 15 minutes....and then another 10 or 15 for tips. Pardon me, but isn't that the 25 or thirty minutes I have just been disputing???

    I emailed her back saying that I will do sets that are around 20 minutes because that is the standard (and I gave examples), but no longer, and said that if he doesn't want me back because of that it's fine, I don't need the money and I don't want the experience that badly. I told her I am angry that she won't stand up for us dancers, and I am angry because he thinks he is getting something for nothing. I also told her that if there ARE any dancers dancing for that long, it's because they've been intimidated into doing so, and don't know any better.

    I am angry now even more, because on the way home I realized that he is essentially wanting (minute wise anyway) THREE sets for the price of two.

    *sigh* I am scheduled to dance there this Friday, but I am angry. I would say forget it, but I stick with my commitments, and I have several coworkers from the hospital planning to come. So...I will go, do my 20 minutes each, and if anyone says anything to me, I am going to speak with the owner directly and give him a piece of my mind. I am going to try not to burn bridges though regarding the larger ME restaurant community -- I do want to be able to dance at other places!

    The ironic thing is that the drummer for the band called me yesterday and was upset that I'm not dancing on Saturday, he was hoping it was me.

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