Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 38

Thread: Is this normal?

  1. #21
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Melbourne Australia, but a Kiwi
    Posts
    8,295
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Suhad View Post
    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.
    Good for you speaking your mind As for the drummer, I hope you explained the problems to him, maybe he could be an ally, seeing he likes to drum for you.

    Good luck with your friday night.
    ~Mosaic

  2. #22
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest USA
    Posts
    5,313
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Dance etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mosaic View Post
    Good for you speaking your mind As for the drummer, I hope you explained the problems to him, maybe he could be an ally, seeing he likes to drum for you.

    Good luck with your friday night.

    ~Mosaic

    Dear Mosiac,
    The only problem with this is that more than likely an Arab guy is not going to stand up against another Arab guy, for a woman who is not even in his family, about something like this. Usually they say they do not want to be involved or make any trouble. I have had one of my Arab bosses stand up for me once, against an American guy only.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  3. #23
    Member Suhad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    310
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Well, the drummer (band in fact) has issues with him (the owner) of their own...they originally played live music on both Fridays and Saturdays. The owner let them go completely saying he couldn't afford them because there wasn't enough business (um..right) but there was such an outcry from the patrons that he brought them back on Saturdays only. But, he cut their rates for playing there.

    The drummer was quite unhappy when I told him about the keyboard player, it seems that it was quite recently Sam cut their pay again telling them there wasn't enough business to justify the band on both nights yet. I am assuming he cut it again to pay the keyboard player.

  4. #24
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest USA
    Posts
    5,313
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Dance etc.

    Dear Suhad,
    ...... I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but I can't believe you all put up with this treatment...... He is being as ass because you are all allowing it. He can not treat you that way if you do not let him and that is the bottom line.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  5. #25
    Member Suhad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    310
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    You know, it's so endemic around these parts that it had never even occurred to me that it might not be the norm everywhere. What pissed me off, frankly, was the fact that I was actually *doing* the amount of music/dance that the contract specified per the agent, and getting into trouble for giving them exactly what they paid for. And having my friend give me a bullshit line about how "all the other dancers do 30 minutes I believe, so please try to dance longer"....all because she wants a place for her students to dance.

    I danced there last night, and in a sort of poetic justice I got there 10 minutes early (I was shooting for 30 but when it rains in AZ traffic crawls...and when you live 80 miles away it isn't always raining when you start) which normally is MORE than enough time for me to get dressed, but not last night! I popped a hook on a costume I just did maintenance on, I couldn't get the hooks on my bellynet attached, I got my hair caught in the hooks and had to take everything apart to get it out...20 minutes later (10 minutes late for my start time) I was finally dressed and ready....to dance for a grand total of 3 tables. The music was so low I didn't even wear zils for my second set, they were too overwhelming in the first. The music I had put in specifically for dancing table to table seemed to go on forever as there were only three tables to dance for each set!

    On the plus side a family gave me a $10 tip, and I made more in tip money from those three tables than I usually do from a packed house. And, my worst critic, my dear husband, showed up for my last set after he got off work and said I looked good during my set, and that my arms were much better than they have been recently. AND and, not a word from the owner, the key board player, or the wait staff about the length. Guess 20 minutes is the true standard not 15.
    Last edited by Suhad; 02-16-2008 at 07:59 PM. Reason: Forgot...

  6. #26
    Member Suhad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    310
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    If I dance there again great, if I don't great. I am taking two privates a week, one with my drum instructor and one with my dance instructor. I will continue to get better, week by week, and continue my quest to at least UNDERSTAND Arabic even if my speaking it will probably continue to be wishful thinking. And I just got new photos done so I can put together a portfolio to bring to the local chambers of commerce and local businesses. I think I will be trying more for the parties rather than a restaurant job, which seems like a lot of hassle at this point.

    Salome has an article around here somewhere on putting together a portfolio which I am going to read again. Does anyone have any advice on how to approach potential clients, or any experiences to relate?

  7. #27
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    central coast, California
    Posts
    569
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    ok... a bit late on this... but how long have you been
    *taking lessons
    *performing
    *teaching???
    not very long if you are dancing for "experience" I would assume.....
    (& if long... then you should KNOW better)

    that is why some PROFESSIONAL (AS in this is their JOB) dancers may have seemed a bit harsh with you....

    it is people who are "dancing for experience" who seem to be ok with dancing for sh#* wages (cause after all they are not professional) not (hopefully) realizing that they are screwing all the professionals out there (as well as themselves as "future" professionals)

    oooh & I love how you asked how OFTEN Sedonia dances.... well... not to often I would suspect, if she has been undercut by people willing to dance "for experience"
    as for your friend "the agent"... 1st off agents do not have "students" they have clients... and if she was a true agent, she would be paying YOU directly & you would NEVER discuss payment w/ the person for whom you were dancing. AND you would be "negotiating' pay with HER! AND you would have a contract with her SPELLING ALL THIS OUT!


    as for constructive criticism or whatever.... once you consider how much you are LOSING once you subtract your gas/costuming/misc. NOT to mention your TIME from your "wage" (not to mention ALL the time you have spent talking to the keyboardist/drummer/owner/us ABOUT getting this "wage")
    would you PLEASE consider putting together an event (how about monthly?) at a place VERY close to your home... (I KNOW how HARD it is to find a decent venue.... but since you are still willing to do stuff for "experience" NOW is your chance!! check out other restaurants... my 2 longest running gigs= an Indian restaurant & a "wine bar" type place!)...
    for the 3 hours you spend travelling to do one show... you could spend that time organizing one....
    ooooh would it not be fun to do it on a night this horrid place has theirs... then get that restaurant's musicians & dancers to perform for YOU???
    they may even do it for "experience" the 1st time out... but PROMISE you'll pay'em if you can!!!!!!
    so yeah... dance at this bad place ONE more time... but get a mailing list (e-mail??) from all of those customers who show up to see YOU!!!! then invite them to above mentioned show!


    btw this is my job... & I do dance at least 3x week (professionally) & actually got w-2'd from 6 venues (oops 10 if you count random ones) last year.
    sorry if this seems harsh....
    but PLEASE! if you do not want the answer, do not ask the question!

  8. #28
    Member Suhad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    310
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I appreciate the feedback, really I do. However.

    I think many here, you included, choose to ignore what I have stated more than once: $50 is the standard wage for two 15-20 minute sets here in the Phoenix area!!!!! I am getting very frustrated by several accusing me (indirectly but doing it just the same) of undercutting in some way, or implying that my dancing is somehow not 'up to snuff' since I drive so far to go to this gig. My instructor, Helena Vlahos, is perfectly willing and able to tell me if she didn't think I was ready to dance publicly. Believe me, she knows I appreciate honesty and I get it for two hours at a time at my privates. I usually leave her house drenched in sweat and completely brain fried.

    I did have a gig last summer at a place much closer to my house, closer than where I work in fact, but the restaurant went out of business. Not surprising given the fact that they didn't have a liquor license and were directly next door to a mexican bar/restaurant that does. Incidentally, the pay there was the same -- $50 for two 15 minute sets. And they never once told me I had to dance for longer than that.

    How long have I been taking lessons? Six years, two to three times a week for that long. How long have I been taking private lessons? Almost two years (cost was a big factor in that).

    My biggest issue is, has been, and will continue to be, confidence in myself. It's the biggest reason I have chosen to drive that far to this particular restaurant -- most of the time that I have been dancing there it is like it was last night, nearly deserted. It's a good way to get into the swing of things, to improvise under pressure (which is way different than simply dancing for fun in my opinion), and has been my only experience dancing to live musicians. THAT alone has been worth the hassle.

    I don't teach. I wouldn't presume to do such a thing at this point in my dance 'career'.

    I don't negotiate with the owner. I have never talked with him regarding pay; I have however spoken with the one particular waitress multiple times, she is the one who pays me, and I have spoken with the keyboard guy multiple times as well. I do not have a problem with restating what I was told are the provisions of the dance gig.

    There is no written contract for dancing anywhere in the Valley of the Sun, as far as I know; it's all by word of mouth and on the honor system. I have no problem with that, as long as all parties honor the verbal contract; this is in fact the first time I have ever had this sort of problem. THAT is why I posted to begin with.

    The pay is what it is. "professional" dancers get paid the same as I do for the same amount of time. I really resent the implication that I am undercutting because I drive farther than other dancers to the same venue. The owner doesn't give a shit that I drive farther. He cares that he has a dancer who is not an idiot and who entertains the customers.

    The 'agent' (notice I have and continue to put that in quotation marks) is a bellydance instructor who was contacted by the owner regarding dancers as there was apparently an issue with the other 'agent' in the area who schedules dancers. I don't know the politics and I don't care, don't want to know. I dance when I am asked if I am not otherwise committed, but I don't go out to get my own gigs/venues.

    There is no venue near my house for me to even approach as far as someplace to put on my own event; cowboys and bikers are not particularly interested in ME music although I'm sure they would be titillated by the costuming. I am interested in perhaps getting my name out there for corporate events; I have a couple of clients I have done belly grams for, and I have a repeat one coming up later this year. There's just not that big a market here. The ME people that are in the Prescott area, are college students and don't have money to throw away on a dancer -- and I don't know that they really want to raise their heads in such a republican stronghold anyway.

    The only place in the Prescott area that has ever hosted anything resembling belly dance is an Indian restaurant that had the local tribal troupe once a month. It didn't bring in more customers though so I don't think they do it anymore. That is 40 miles from my house as well.

    I think it's essential for me as a dancer at least to have an understanding of the rhythms and how they relate to the music, the maqamat and how they also relate; how the culture relates to the songs; and an understanding of the language because it's just too hard to discern the mood of a song by the melody line (case in point: Lessa Fakir). I take drum lessons (and these are much much more than rhythms, they are the history of a song - who composed it, who sang it, what the lyrics are and what they mean in English, substitutions for rhythms, dance moves that might be appropriate, etc); get private coaching, take private lessons, am learning the language, read ME internet newspapers, watch ME dancer films/performance videos and ask questions of my Arabic acquaintances. As well as dancers who have been around for more than 10 years.

    I am not some 'cute young thing' who is doing this just to shake my 'thing' and get some attention. I take this dance as seriously as I possibly can as I feel that I am an interloper in a cultural phenomenon that is not mine. I also am keenly aware of the issue of the wages and undercutting, and have done my level best to get dancers to tell me what exactly their wages are for private gigs, grams, as well as restaurants etc so that I DON'T undercut. So what exactly is it that I am doing that is so insulting to you, and why are you making these assumptions?
    Last edited by Suhad; 02-17-2008 at 01:08 AM. Reason: adding

  9. #29
    Member Suhad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    310
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    BTW, I drive 60 miles one way to take my lessons as well.

    I drive 59 miles to go to my 'real job' 3 times a week. does that make me less of a professional because I drive farther than many of my coworkers? Should my employer pay me more because I come farther?

  10. #30
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    central coast, California
    Posts
    569
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    thanks for your reply & taking the time to explain all.... I think the reason people got the idea you were not serious/professional was maybe cause of the emphasis on dancing for "experience"... for the record.. I did click on you to see if there was any info as to experience/area/etc... & there was not...
    i am glad you are not a "cute young thing" (bet you are compared to some of us though) & are not undercutting professionals... nobody said that just cause you drive far you are "less" professional.... I do think somebody said that you should take that into consideration when negotiating for a job though (I certainly do!)... of course this is easier on private parties... esp. when they want YOU... sounds like w/ your dedication you may find a restaurant that wants YOU!
    also understand the draw of LIVE music.... lucky !!!!
    as far as "written" contracts... I was mainly talking of this "agent" all agents I have worked with have contracts galore... they get a percentage ON top of what we charge (from the client) so they do not want us discussing wages w/ client... what is to stop client from calling you direct & cutting out agent?
    as far as NObody having contracts where you are.... well maybe that is part of the problem... it is not always a matter of trust, but of who said what...
    I have so far not had a FORMAL contract w/ a restaurant.... but with a new job (or a change of terms on an old one) I ALWAYS e-mail the owner a "so we're on the same page" letter... regarding ALL discussed... down to "if I cannot make it I will send a professional substitute, I, myself will be there AT least 90% of the dates discussed" (I always make sure in our "verbal" that they know I am in high demand esp on weekend nights, so when I get a "normal" paying gig I AM taking it!!)...restaurants do not pay well around here either..... I always specify PLUS tips, dinner & glass of wine (or gift cert. for meal if I have to run!!!!!)..
    hope I answered all... just looked at clock....eeekkk!!!

Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •