My worst experience ever....

Amber

New member
So, I did another performance on Friday... and I'm pretty sure it was probably the worst belly dance experience ever.

So my instructor calls me up and says that she has a client that wants her to dance for them, and that she has an engagement that will not allow her to make it. She told them that she has a student that could do the job for them.

So, I accept and then we hammer out the details. My teacher assures me that I will be paid for the event, she doesn't know how much, because they told her they would "throw me something to help me pay for my expenses", but they didn't clarify. (yeah this is where I should have known it was going downhill:rolleyes:)

Anyway, trusting that all would be on the up and up... I called the client to iron out the details with her. She tells me that during the party there will be a 50/50 and that she would be giving me some of the proceeds from that. I was assured that there would be at least 30-40 women there and that I would at least be getting $50. (I'm a student, its only my second time dancing and I'm filling in for someone else so I thought this was fair)

So the afternoon of the day Im supposed to be performing I call the client one more time, something told me that I should call her and make sure that she had a sound system there because that was the only thing we didn't talk about when I called her the first time. She tells me, "No ____ told me you were brining your own!" The thing is... I dont have one.

So an hour before the show I have to run to Wal-mart and buy a small boom box for $20.

I get to the place finally right on time and the woman keeps telling me to wait a few more mins, because she wants to give all the ladies time to show up. I look around and there are 7 women there...nowhere near the 30-40 she said there would be. So I sit and wait.... and wait.... and wait.... I wait for a total of 30 mins... not ONE more person shows up. So I finally say, look Im going to dance now because I cant wait any longer I have another engagement etc etc... I dance, I gather my things to leave and I go to the hostess to collect my pay.

She goes to her purse and pulls out a $10 and hands it to me and says, "This is all I have, but it should be enough right? We didn't get as many women as I had hoped! Ill give you more the next time you come back"

I'm thinking..."lady there is no way in hell I'm coming back":rolleyes:

So I went through all of that... for $10???? $10??? It didn't even pay for the stereo I bought. On top of that they made me late for a Hafla I was going to attend the same night...

I was so upset. Im still upset when I think about it.

Anyway... that was my experience the second time I performed...
 
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Aniseteph

New member
Eurgh, that is truly lousy of her. She should be the one feeling awful, not you.

If you are new to performing at parties why did your teacher let them leave the fee so vague? Sounds like they heard the word "student" and straight away saw a way out of paying...

IMNSHO the fee ought to be negotiable on your terms only.
 

Amber

New member
Eurgh, that is truly lousy of her. She should be the one feeling awful, not you.

If you are new to performing at parties why did your teacher let them leave the fee so vague? Sounds like they heard the word "student" and straight away saw a way out of paying...

IMNSHO the fee ought to be negotiable on your terms only.
I wish I have pressed them about it to begin with... But I trusted that I would be taken care of because they were apparently a group my teacher has dealt with positively before... and she had good experiences with them.

So I figured that they would be the same way for me...

I was obviously wrong....
 

Eshta

New member
Erm... sounds like your teacher let you down a bit there too? It's an awful way to learn, being dumped in the deep end. If your teacher is passing on a gig, I would have hoped she would have negotiated your fee up front, & told you to collect it before dancing.

Not your problem only 7 people showed up. Would she have given you more if 700 had showed up...?

:mad:
 

sedoniaraqs

New member
I was assured that there would be at least 30-40 women there and that I would at least be getting $50. (I'm a student, its only my second time dancing and I'm filling in for someone else so I thought this was fair)
Actually, even if everything had gone as you assumed above, the deal would have been crappy. First, I don't think there is anywhere in the entire US where the fee for a private party gig is only $50. Even in the cornfield sticks of the midwest, private parties command at least $125.

Second, the fact that you were filling in for someone else should not reduce the fee received.

Third, that you are inexperienced doesn't call for a reduced fee. You are either good enough to get the going rate, or you shouldn't gig. The mentality that you should take a low fee due to inexperience is why belly dancers make less today than they did in 1970.

Most of the blame here lies on your teacher, sorry to say. She should know better, and she should have set you up for your first gig to be more of a success. If I sent a junior dance colleague into a situation that I had controlled so poorly, I would be paying her the going fee out of my pocket and hanging my head in shame.
 

Lydia

New member
I AGREE VERY MUCH WITH SEDONIA!! this is realy not the way for a teacher to teach her pupils how to go to a party,and she kind of booked you so she should feel responsable for the evening ,she knows you are new in this field...a teacher must be more carefull and care more what happen to the students,s and if she dont want to ,or if she is to busy ...atleast make a list from the things that you must ask the organiser to make it succesfull also she must at least guide you how much money you must take and the minimum what to go for,..this is not how to teach new dancers how to go to gigs,bad news she realy let you down.....hope that you learned from this and i am sorry it was a bad experiance...new artist get discouraged like this....have a nice day ,and i hope your next party will be much better organised,Lydia
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
Time for a new teacher, perhaps?

As I read your opening post, I had the same thought cross my mind that most everyone else here has expressed: your teacher let you down. I know that that is exactly how I would feel if my teacher had booked me a gig, and then not follow through on making sure I received fair pay for my performance. I would have felt abandoned, and used, by both the teacher and the party host. :( I'm so very sorry this has happened to you, but even though this has been a bad experience for you, you have learned a lesson, and since you now know how this kind of thing feels, you know that you would never want to be guilty of ever doing the same thing to someone else. In fact, you have gained a very valuable experience to pass on to other newbies, such as myself. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, and know that you have people here who care about you. *BIG huggles*

Perhaps it's time to consider finding a new teacher? :think: Of course, before you do, you might want to talk about this whole thing with your teacher. Just because a person is a teacher doesn't make her perfect. It sounds like she could use a few lessons on how to make sure her students are treated well. Of course, don't approach her in anger, but do let her know that you have been disappointed by your experience. I hope you can work things out so that you can continue to grow in the dance, and leave this bad experience behind.

Eshta, I'm sorry; I'm not allowed to give you more rep, but I certainly would have if I could.
 
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Aisha Azar

New member
dance etc.

Actually, even if everything had gone as you assumed above, the deal would have been crappy. First, I don't think there is anywhere in the entire US where the fee for a private party gig is only $50. Even in the cornfield sticks of the midwest, private parties command at least $125.

Second, the fact that you were filling in for someone else should not reduce the fee received.

Third, that you are inexperienced doesn't call for a reduced fee. You are either good enough to get the going rate, or you shouldn't gig. The mentality that you should take a low fee due to inexperience is why belly dancers make less today than they did in 1970.

Most of the blame here lies on your teacher, sorry to say. She should know better, and she should have set you up for your first gig to be more of a success. If I sent a junior dance colleague into a situation that I had controlled so poorly, I would be paying her the going fee out of my pocket and hanging my head in shame.



Dear Amber,
Sedonia is exactly correct. When I send my other dancers out to work, even other professionals, I negotiate a price and I tell both the customer and the dancer that they will be collecting their fee in cash BEFORE they perform. I also negotiate a music system and private dressing area into the deal. I tell them that any gratuity above and beyond the fee is between them and the dancer, so that they know it is okay to tip. Many teachers take a finder's fee and there is nothing wrong with that, but I do not. When I send our dance company members out to work, we usually get 10% for our company fund if the job was gotten in connection with Baharat!!, but people outside the company are not charged for the service because I figure that they are doing US a favor when we can not take the extra work.
Regards,
A'isha
 

da Sage

New member
Hi,

I think you should tell your teacher (if you haven't already) what happened, and that you are very disappointed that you didn't even make back the cost of the boombox you were asked to bring.

If I were that teacher, I would want to know, so I could better deal with the people that hired you...if not now, then in the future. Perhaps your teacher is just a little flaky, but didn't mean to contribute to such a bad situation. This could save your fellow students from being taken advantage of by these clients in the future.
 

Amber

New member
I actually did talk to my teacher about it. The reply I got from her was, "well at least they gave you something, chalk it up to experience gained." and that was it. Like "well that sucks, but you got something right?"

I also found out later that my teacher was going to take the job for no pay at all originally because she is doing a workshop for the ladies and they are paying her for that. She was throwing in a small demo performance for free to attract students to the workshop.

So she told the group that they would need to "throw me something for my time" because I wasnt getting paid for the workshop. And the rest is history.

Sedonia, thank you for the info, I didn't know that this was the going rate! This particular instructor has always told me that I should be asking $70 for a full set. My other (newer) instructor and I haven't really talked about performances yet so I didn't really get a chance to get a second opinion.

I feel really bad now because Im thinking that maybe I should have stood up for myself and sternly talked to the lady after the show... :( Its too late now I guess... Maybe I should have another talk with my teacher again...

ETA: Also, I feel like maybe I should talk to my other teacher about it (who is the teacher of my first teacher LOL does that make any sense?) Shes been in the business for years and she might know have some more tips for me.
 
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da Sage

New member
I actually did talk to my teacher about it. The reply I got from her was, "well at least they gave you something, chalk it up to experience gained." and that was it. Like "well that sucks, but you got something right?"

I also found out later that my teacher was going to take the job for no pay at all originally because she is doing a workshop for the ladies and they are paying her for that. She was throwing in a small demo performance for free to attract students to the workshop.

So she told the group that they would need to "throw me something for my time" because I wasnt getting paid for the workshop. And the rest is history.

Sedonia, thank you for the info, I didn't know that this was the going rate! This particular instructor has always told me that I should be asking $70 for a full set. My other (newer) instructor and I haven't really talked about performances yet so I didn't really get a chance to get a second opinion.

I feel really bad now because Im thinking that maybe I should have stood up for myself and sternly talked to the lady after the show... :( Its too late now I guess... Maybe I should have another talk with my teacher again...

ETA: Also, I feel like maybe I should talk to my other teacher about it (who is the teacher of my first teacher LOL does that make any sense?) Shes been in the business for years and she might know have some more tips for me.
Err...

That's all kinds of wrong. The teacher asked you to do a demo for her profit, but didn't make it clear that it was a demo?

I think your teacher should apologize to you, and offer to reimburse you for the balance left on the boombox.

I used to think it was nuts to ask to be paid before the performance, but this kind of foolishness makes me realize that when it's necessary, it's really necessary (and of course you won't know until afterwards whether it is necessary).
 

sedoniaraqs

New member
Sedonia, thank you for the info, I didn't know that this was the going rate! This particular instructor has always told me that I should be asking $70 for a full set. My other (newer) instructor and I haven't really talked about performances yet so I didn't really get a chance to get a second opinion.
That would be a pretty good price for a restaurant set in most places, but private parties get higher rates.

Samira Shuruk is a dancer in Washington DC who has put together a great amount of resources for dancers, including a list of rates nationwide that dancers everywhere have sent her. Here is here site: Samira Shuruk Belly Dance and Bollywood

Go to the dancer resources to see her rates page and other good articles.
 
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