Dealing with Restaurant Owners. Would you continue with this gig if you were me?


New member

Sorry in advance for the long story. I just need some feedback from fellow dancers.

I got a weekly noon gig every Friday at a Persian restuarant. The house dancer went back to school and left my friend in her place while the owner found a new dancer. I filled in for my friend while she went on vacation and the owners offered me to stay permanently. I told him my friend brought me there and it felt unethical for me to take the gig even if she knew he was still looking. He asked if I could then split with her and since she liked the idea, I agreed. Later he asked her if she could just come in when I couldn't and since she had gotten a job and she convinced me to stay, I did although I felt bad of how he cut her days. I was thinking of just telling him I couldn't continue when the ex-house dancer took a break from school and he told me she would be dancing that friday, then again next week and again this week. I saw my excuse to leave the place and told him that if she wanted to come back, I had no problem leaving. The issue is that he cancels on me last minute whenever the ex-house dancer has the chance to come back and dance on a certain day. I don't mind not going in because I work from home on Fridays but still work my full-time job so it's nice to stay home. I just feel he needs to be straight forward. When I told him I would stop going and would stay until he found a new dancer he convinced me to stay and said the ex-house dancer could go in some days to help me out. He is opening another restaurant and will have night time gigs available and told me I could dance there sometimes and when I emailed him asking him about his plans to plan around me schedule better, he just replied "sounds good."


New member
I have no experience of working as a dancer (n00b alert), however I've dealt with many business owners, and sadly, this type of flakiness is not uncommon. If he's opening another restaurant that will require a dancer, it doesn't hurt to remain on good terms with him. However, you should put your foot down about scheduling. Inform him that if he doesn't cancel you with at least 24-hrs notice you will expect him to pay a "cancellation" fee. I'm sure he's not going to like this at all, but if you allow things to continue as they are, he has no incentive to change his treatment of your valuable time.


New member
He got better this last time. The past few times he told me the evening before the gig and today he informed me about Friday. I think he has a hard time being upfront. I don't mind if the previous dancer who was there wants to come back when she is available. But if he knows she will be free for three weeks and wants to dance, I would prefer him telling me she will be there three weeks instead of calling me weekly. I don't mind at all since this was her gig for so long and I enjoy the free time on a Friday noon.

Thanks for you response :)


Could you get in contact with all dancers and make up a schedule together and present it to him? That would make you dancers stand strong as a group (and as individuals) You can tell the owner that it would save him messing around with schedules :)


New member
I havent done any paid belly dancing yet either...and probably never will...but just as a person who has had to deal with managers...managing editors of newspapers...the above posts are correct. They can be a little self-involved in that way..only thinking about what's most convenient for their business at the time and forgetting that someone who is planning to work for them has set aside their time and made other adjustments in their schedule.

Amulya is right...making up a schedule and presenting it to them works very well. I am currently writing for a publication that said they could offer me two feature stories a month published/paid for. I agreed to it...and sent them a copy of my schedule, with other work I'm already committed to noted and their time blocked out as Wednesday afternoons and it's gone smoothly.

Of course...asking for fill ins and such depends on the degree of it. I told them I dont mind filling in if a staff writer can't get to something on the weekend from time to time...and it's fine if they call me on the occasional Saturday....but if it became an every five minutes kind of thing, I'd put my foot down.


New member
... I think he has a hard time being upfront.

You said you feel he needs to be straightforward too, but to play devil's advocate, why should he? What's in it for him to start saying No to ex-house dancer? He might cause bad feeling :shok:, she might leave and lose him customers. Whereas now he just has you miffed at last minute cancellations. But not so miffed as not to be talked round, especially with those evening slots on the horizon...

I think it's a great idea to get together with the others and sort something out that suits you all. It might make him a bit twitchy because he can't play you off against each other so easily, but then again he might appreciate not having to deal with dancers' dramas! (Not that it's that from your POV, but it might be from his :rolleyes:)