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  1. #1
    Member Andrea Deagon's Avatar
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    Question Reasons for tips

    The answers to this might seem obvious, but I'm interested to hear what people say.

    Do you take tips or go out for tips (have a place in your performance where you encourage patrons to tip you)?

    If so, why?
    If not, why not?

    I guess what I'm interested in is, do you have reasons other than "money is good" for taking tips or designing your work situation so you can get them?

    One reason I'm asking is that I have been reading (for my own arcane reasons) a number of sociological studies of strippers and tipping, and while there are other secondary issues, the primary issue in that situation is money, money, money. How to manipulate audience members for money, and how far you will compromise yourself to get more, and what interpersonal strategies get the most.

    So -- being inflamatory here -- do we have substantially different motives than strippers for pursuing tipping from our audience -- or do we just draw the line of what we'll do to get them, in a different place?

    I ask this because I think a lot of belly dancers do encounter issues of personal compromise in tipping situations. I used to take tipping in the costume for granted, then reached a point where I was fed up with it and wouldn't do it any more. There was a long period in the middle there where I felt a little irked at some of it, but didn't change.

    For me, never having made my complete living from dance, and having lived in small markets where I could set my price and make sure I was well paid for my performances, the amount I made from tips was miniscule compared to all my other sources of income (not that I'm rich, just that it's rare to come home swimming in tip money from dance performances in smallish restaurants in coastal North Carolina). But over the course of my (looong) dance career, those relatively insignificant tip dollars had a lot of emotion attached, one way or the other.

  2. #2
    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    Hi Andrea,

    I hope you don't mind but I moved your post to its very own thread.

    IMO, there is a difference between being an entertainer and being an artist. I, for sure, do not see these qualities as being exclusive from one another. An artist could easily come into an entertainment situation and rock'em sock'em and vice versa. Actually, considering the variety of venue for this dance a really competent dancer has to be able to pull off both roles depending on where she or he is performing that day. But I would also say that a person will tend to have more of a strength or feels more of a dharma with one or the other.

    IF I am in an entertainment situation and the patrons expect or want to tip, I see them all waiting with cash in hand then I will go out on the floor and appreciatively do the deal. BUT...

    One of the things that I discovered, over time, is the type of performer I am (or grew into) and that is more a feeling of dharma with artist than entertainer. That had a big impact on where I wanted to perform and why. Over the last, maybe eight years or so, I've worked in staged shows, modest to grand. It isn't that the physical environment must be pretentious - it's the purpose of why I am there and why the audience is there. In the latter type of venue tipping as part of your show program is, usually, not part of the deal. I do get tips and gifts but not in the same manner, for example, it's given to me after my show. My salary and fee's pay so I am not in a position where I have to rely on tips. Though I came up through the ranks and did my time, and I've been there. So, ultimately my answer would be no, I don't strategically work tips in because I find the environment & dancer/patron relationship less satisfying.
    Last edited by Salome; 05-15-2008 at 06:56 AM.

  3. #3
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Another good topic for discussion which made me think.

    What is the true definition of a tip?

    When dancers perform in the clubs in Egypt where money is thrown etc. this money is seen as a valid part of the income that benefits all the dancers and musicians. It is not an individual game but part of a team effort.

    In Egypt, a toilet attendant in a good venue maybe paid more than a doctor as the tips will add to hundreds per day. Many self employed parking people in the streets make their entire income from 'tips'.

    A tip (here in the UK) is usually over and above what we maybe being paid already, so the need is very different.
    I personally have never worked with tips in mind, they have usually been a by product.
    I dont know how it works in other countries.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    Another good topic for discussion which made me think.

    What is the true definition of a tip?

    When dancers perform in the clubs in Egypt where money is thrown etc. this money is seen as a valid part of the income that benefits all the dancers and musicians. It is not an individual game but part of a team effort.

    In Egypt, a toilet attendant in a good venue maybe paid more than a doctor as the tips will add to hundreds per day. Many self employed parking people in the streets make their entire income from 'tips'.

    A tip (here in the UK) is usually over and above what we maybe being paid already, so the need is very different.
    I personally have never worked with tips in mind, they have usually been a by product.
    I dont know how it works in other countries.
    I think that the tips as by product is more a european view,whilst tipping as part of the income seems more common in the states and the east

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    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pia View Post
    I think that the tips as by product is more a european view,whilst tipping as part of the income seems more common in the states and the east
    Well you learn something new everyday!
    Of course this puts a whole different slant on this question.

  6. #6
    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    I think that the tips as by product is more a european view,whilst tipping as part of the income seems more common in the states and the east
    That's true. In fields where tipping is expected, like waiting tables for example, that (tends) to pay minimum wage - waiters count on tips as part of their income. Practically everyone tips their waitperson, unless it's fastfood, buffet or really bad service.

  7. #7
    Member Andrea Deagon's Avatar
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    So I guess there is a difference in what European dancers and (North) American dancers expect, in terms of tips? Based on the non-tipping nature of some of the Western European countries?

    I think America is in the middle in terms of its tipping practices. We tip waiters and hairdressers and a few other professions. And the tradition of tipping belly dancers seems to have been around from its start in America -- at least I think so! So is it so popular in America because of the American way of tipping, or becuase of the Middle Eastern tradition of tipping, or what?

    It seems that in many circumstances in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East, either all or a large part of what any given dance troupe made was made from tips. And tipping is an important social custom that allows people to claim and show a certain status within their circle of friends or in the broader community. In the Ethnic nightclubs of the USA in the 1970's, tipping the dancer had some of the same elements in it.

    Of course, that is a far cry from people in a family restaurant where there are very few Arabs, tucking dollar bills into someone's costume.

    In any case, I am wondering whether in European performances for Arab audiences, tipping is still done, or whether the European customs have overshadowed the Arab tipping thing.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea Deagon View Post
    So I guess there is a difference in what European dancers and (North) American dancers expect, in terms of tips? Based on the non-tipping nature of some of the Western European countries?

    I think America is in the middle in terms of its tipping practices. We tip waiters and hairdressers and a few other professions. And the tradition of tipping belly dancers seems to have been around from its start in America -- at least I think so! So is it so popular in America because of the American way of tipping, or becuase of the Middle Eastern tradition of tipping, or what?

    It seems that in many circumstances in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East, either all or a large part of what any given dance troupe made was made from tips. And tipping is an important social custom that allows people to claim and show a certain status within their circle of friends or in the broader community. In the Ethnic nightclubs of the USA in the 1970's, tipping the dancer had some of the same elements in it.

    Of course, that is a far cry from people in a family restaurant where there are very few Arabs, tucking dollar bills into someone's costume.

    In any case, I am wondering whether in European performances for Arab audiences, tipping is still done, or whether the European customs have overshadowed the Arab tipping thing.
    Whilst i would imange the audience does what its accustomed to do (eg tipping and tipping in a certain way) I think that many people would be wary of accepting tips as tipping is sometimes seen as seedy.(disscussing this a non belly dance friend asked"but what do they expect in return")

    this viewpiont could make the dancer feel it was more respectable not to take tips. Of course this is a British viewpoint-things proablywork dffently in the US

  9. #9
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    We do tip in the UK but it is extra to income and we sometimes do it even when we have paid a service charge included in our bill.

    I think the 'tipping' dancers whilst they are performing is not generally approved on in the UK and the main reason is, I think it is mainly men who do it and they often do it with a little ceremony (a bit like a turkey looking for a mate).
    Tips are often given to me in a envelope at the end and I dont mind this at all.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    We do tip in the UK but it is extra to income and we sometimes do it even when we have paid a service charge included in our bill.

    I think the 'tipping' dancers whilst they are performing is not generally approved on in the UK and the main reason is, I think it is mainly men who do it and they often do it with a little ceremony (a bit like a turkey looking for a mate).
    Tips are often given to me in a envelope at the end and I dont mind this at all.
    I think that recieving tips in an envelope would negate any negative feelings about accepting tips and i would agree that the fact that the tippers are mainly male and tipping in a certain way is why tipping is not approved of.

    If its not a rude question,are audiences happy to comply with your system,how do you arrange to take tips this way?

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