INFO TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BOOK A SHOW
BY PRINCESS FARHANA
So, you’ve been sweating in group and private classes, practicing you butt off at home, dancing with a student troupe and in belly dance show cases, honing your technique and stage presence… and you just bought a fabulous new costume. Well, congratulations, girl sounds like you’re about ready to go pro- now all you need is a gig! Exactly what do working dancers know that you don’t? Well, for one thing, they know how to book shows. Whether you’re donating your dancing to a charity event, performing at a private party or auditioning for a restaurant or club job, there’s “technique” involved before you hit the stage as well. The following information will help you book a gig like a seasoned pro… remember, if you act like a professional dancer, you will be treated like one!
- WHAT TYPE OF EVENT? Surprise party, wedding, birthday, Arabic club, belly dance showcase…etc.
- WHO IS HIRING YOU? Club owner, relative, caterer, and event planner…
- WHERE? (How far from your house, as well as whether the event is being held at a residence, restaurant, banquet hall, outdoor festival, etc.) *ALSO: Is there a full theatrical stage, raised stage, dance floor, living room, patio or……..???? FIND OUT ABOUT YOUR DANCE AREA!
- WHEN? Get specific performance times, and let them know that you are flexible, but cannot stay at the event for hours at their discretion
- SOUND SYSTEM: Do you have to bring a boom box, or will there be a sound system w/ a deejay? Do they expect you to dance to a live band? If so- cans you rehearse or tech check?
- NEGOTIATE PAY: Depending on where, when and how long you will be dancing, state your rate, and negotiate your salary. DO NOT undercut the “going rate”. If you are not sure what the going rate is in your area, ask another local working dancer, or dance instructor. Start your price a little high, many people expect bit of bargaining. Figure out if it is a tipping situation or not, this will affect the base pay you ask for… and also ask the host or person who hired you if they would like you to stay on your performance area, or if it is fine to dance among the seated guests. Some people consider this acceptable, others think it’s ‘tacky”. DO NOT ask the person hiring you how much they wanted to spend on a dancer until you have stated your price. Everybody wants a “deal”, and will give you a lower figure.
- GET DIRECTIONS! If you can’t get directions from the host, call the venue. If you can’t get in touch with the venue, look up the address and driving directions on the Internet.
- GET CONTACT NUMBERS! Try to get both a cell-phone number as well as the number of the venue itself.
- RE-CONFIRM YOUR PERFORMANCE (a week before the show, as well as the day before)
- GET A CONTRACT AND DEPOSIT IF POSSIBLE.
- DO NOT FEEL “WEIRD” BRINGING ALONG A FRIEND PREFERABLY MALE: Any “decent” people in this day and age will perfectly understand the concept of personal safety. Tell them it is your ‘driver’. However, it is totally inappropriate for you to be hanging all over your ‘driver’ smooching! Be professional.
- IF YOU FEEL UNSAFE AT ANY TIME, REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THE SITUATION IMMEDIATELY.
- SHOW UP READY TO GO (come fully made up and if it’s a private gig with no dressing room fully costumed with a cover-up)
- FIND A SECURE PLACE TO KEEP YOUR BELONGINGS- this could be anything from a locked dressing room or office, to a cubbyhole behind the bar or a concierge desk at a hotel or banquet hall. Even if you have to change in the Ladie’s Room, DO NOT leaves your things they’re unattended!
- LEAVE IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOU PERFORM AND GET PAID (No hanging around, you are an entertainer, not a guest)
- BE GRACIOUS, CHEERFUL AND POLITE, but firmly refuse anything you do not want to do…like perform a second time for free!
- HAVE FUN AND YOUR AUDIENCE WILL, TOO!
- REMEMBER- WARM UP COMPLETELY BEFORE YOU DANCE…IT’S THE LAW!!!!