Bellydance by Amartia has been in the bellydance restaurant scene for almost ten years now. In that time, she has seen and experience a LOT. How does one handle the rowdy belly dance restaurant audience?

This dancer has seen her share of rowdy belly dance restaurant audiences. They range from the tiniest of audience members all the way up the adults. The key is how to handle the situation. Unfortunately, as an entertainer, throwing your hands up and storming out of the room is not an option. Everything must be handle with panache and grace so that You come out smelling like roses and if you’re lucky, the audience member does too!

Bellydance by Amartia belly dancing in a restaurant in Baltimore

Here are a few things that you can try:

  1. The spin away- If you have an audience member that just seems to be getting a little too close and you can see them coming, spin off to another part of the room. Sometimes just doing a few spins in one spot can keep them at bay.
  2. The ninja arms- Don’t actually hit anyone! J This is using your arm movements in front of you, always moving keeping that space between you and the offending audience member. You can also incorporate the no-no finger movement as well- letting them know that what they are doing is not okay.
  3. Zill snap- there are some who just don’t get the hint. Your zills can be used as a weapon- again not a ninja star! (Although I have had one fly off and hit a customer, by accident!) A sharp nip or loud noise can be enough to stave off an audience member.
  4. Challenge them to a dance off- I have done this a couple times. Pretend to amp myself up and do a movement like a tummy flutter and then look expectedly at them as if to say- your turn! Either they can keep up which makes for a great story or a great night as the rest of the audience gets into it. Or they get the hint and let you finish your show.
  5. Making them the center of attention- sometimes all they want to be is the center of attention.  You don’t need to challenge them to a dance off, just give them their moment in the sun. Stand back and clap for them, encourage them. They usually lose steam and again, let you finish your show.
  6. Signaling a waiter/manager- In extreme cases, where you think your safety might be at risk you may have to work out a signal with a waiter or manager to intervene. Hopefully they wouldn’t have to rough them up, but perhaps coming up and engaging them in conversation. Or coming up and pointing you to another table as if to say they want to see you over there!


There are plenty more and every situation is different. Feel free to comment with any that would help other dancers.  These are just some the polite ways to handle rowdy belly dance restaurant customers that Bellydance by Amartia has learned over the years.