Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Belly Dancer Instructor

If you're looking for a high paying job, here's a secret you need to know - belly dancers rank amongst the highest paid people in the world.    

Belly dancers can charge between $200 and $400 for a twenty minute performance.
Of course, that's not as much as it sounds!    

There is far more than just twenty minutes involved in earning that fee.   

There's the time to travel to and from the venue, waiting time (wedding receptions and parties rarely run exactly on schedule), and over-runs (because audience participation can cause a performance to run longer than planned).   

Considerable time is also spent on rehearsals, and cleaning and maintaining costumes.  However, even with all that, a typical belly dancer is still earning a higher hourly rate than a typical doctor!

Naturally, there is one important prerequisite for taking up this “high-paying career”:  you must be a dancer.  Notice I didn't say belly dancer!    

If you have a background in ballroom, ballet, jazz or  especially any kind of Latin dance, you'll find the basic skills of belly dancing a piece of cake, and you could be out dancing in restaurants within a year or two.    

Don't get me wrong – to truly master the art of Oriental dance takes just as long a period of dedicated study as any other dance form.  However, most Western audiences don't have the knowledge to appreciate the difference in skill levels:  if you're a good dancer with stage experience, and you can present a slick, polished show with lots of glitz and sparkle, few audiences will realize you're not an expert is Raqs Sharqi.

Before you dash off and start belly dance classes, let's put this in perspective.  In spite of that impressive hourly rate, you can't expect to make your fortune belly dancing, and the reason is simple – timing.  

Most restaurants only want to offer entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights.  Ditto birthday parties, hen's nights etc.  So although you might be able to charge $200 for an event, you're extremely limited as to how many you can do.

I know belly dancers who take on several gigs every weekend:  with careful planning, they can squeeze in three performances per night, especially as some venues will be happy to have a late night show, at say 10 or 11 pm.  So in a good week, you could expect to earn $1200 – but that's really the ceiling, because even though you're ready and willing to work the rest of the week, there's unlikely to be anything on offer.

There are also costs to be taken into account, of course.  You're in business for yourself, so it's up to you to find your own jobs.  That means having your own website, getting listed in belly dance directories like BellyDanceOz, and investing in a professional photo shoot so you can door knock restaurants, function rooms and wedding planners with your impressive portfolio.   

Then there's costumes:  audiences expect gorgeous, sparkling outfits festooned with crystals, beads and fringing, and you can expect to pay upwards of $500 for a single professional belly dance costume.
One final word of explanation:  if you're thinking “she must do more than just dance, for that money” - you're wrong.  It's true, in some parts of the world belly dance has sleazy associations – but not in the US, Europe or Australasia.   

Belly dancers never strip, and won't even accept bookings for bachelor parties.  In fact, most professional belly dancers will walk out if they arrive to find they've been booked for a men-only event.

So in summary – if you're looking for a lucrative source of part-time income, and you have some dance training, don't overlook belly dance as a safe, rewarding and lucrative part-time source of income.

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