Bellydance by Amartia tackles the most thankless part of belly dancing in restaurants: being the restaurant scheduler.
Being the house dancer and/or the scheduler seems like a great idea. Some might say: you get to put yourself on the schedule whenever you want, you get to deal with the owners, you get control of the schedule, etc. These are all said by people who have never had this job.
First of all, I am not one to be on the schedule all of the time. It’s just not my style. I like to be missed. I like hearing that from customers. Secondly, deal with owners? Really? Again, this is spoken by someone who has never done it or lives in restaurant dreamland. As the scheduling dancer, I field all of the issues, from both sides. I have to negotiate rates, the length of the set, how many sets, make sure that dancers are there on time, along with a host of other things. If a dancer can’t make it, then I make sure that they find a sub or sub myself if necessary. AND that the owner knows who the replacement is and how to contact them. Also if there is an event or private party, the owners call me. I have to make sure there is a dancer there when they want. Fortunately, I have the luck of currently managing two venues that don’t have most of these issues. And thankfully, I work with some of the best owners in Maryland.
Thirdly, I don’t decide who gets to be on the schedule. The owners do. I can suggest a particular dancer to the owner, but the ultimate decision is theirs, and their customers. I only recommend professional dancers who I know don’t undercut, who can handle a full restaurant, can put together a complete set and costume appropriately. It’s harder to find than you think. Also invariably these are the hardest to schedule. As they are the busiest.
I like to do the schedule in 3 month intervals. It makes it easier for me and easier for the dancers. There are times when I may get only one day a month from a dancer. But that one day is also available for a bunch of the dancers. I manage a schedule of 5 dancers including myself. I have had as many as 8. Those that have seniority are guaranteed at least one night a month. The others on the schedule, I rotate such that each of them gets a date in a 3 month period. For instance, if one of the regulars can’t give me any dates in a month then the newer dancers get more dates. I also have an approved sub list. For those instances of a huge workshop or show in town that sucks up a lot of the dancers time. It can be frustrating at times, but the dancers I work with usually get back to me in a timely manner.
So take it from Bellydance by Amartia belly dancing in restaurants is much easier than being the restaurant scheduler.