The last blog before the New Year and we have a wonderful guest blogger Roena! Enjoy her great advice on preparing for a restaurant set.

Most folks wouldn’t think twice about the belly dance show they see at their local Greek, Arabic or Mediterranean restaurant, but more goes in to it than just belly dance! …And if you’re an up and coming belly dancer, here are some tips to keep in mind before your show:


Music is one of the most important things to consider, why? It has to be venue appropriate! What kind of restaurant is it? What is the cultural mix of the clientele? The last thing you want to do is offend anyone with your music. Be aware of cultural issues between ethnic groups. Get translations, and know what you’re dancing to. I danced at a Greek place that served mainly American families who loved upbeat Greek and Arabic pop music, but this didn’t work for a New Aged Hookah bar I danced at with a mixed crowd of 18-20 something rave kids fresh out of the club…..they got out of their seats for Latin music!!! Go figure!

Put your music in Mp3 format and bring it on an Mp3 player and on a CD, and keep a back up CD. Keep your Cd’s in a sleeve and, and bring a cord for your Mp3 player just in case! Once, my CD failed to play because the formatting didn’t jive with the DJ’s equipment, I had to scrap my plans and dance improv to music from a random CD that someone had….Don’t be that dancer!


Is the venue conservative or liberal? Maybe you don’t need your skimpiest dress with cutouts down to THERE at a family friendly establishment! Keep a backup costume in your bag along with extra safety pins and double stick tape. Bring a cover up even if you decide to change into your costume at the venue, and bring comfy dance shoes (heels or flats) just in case the floor is not safe for dancing barefoot.

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Make sure you style your hair and apply your makeup at home, the lighting and space is not usually good enough at the restaurant, and most times you won’t have a dressing room or bathroom just for you! You might be dressing in a broom closet or the back of the kitchen behind a screen! If you use hair accessories, make sure they won’t interfere with your performance and if you use wigs, extensions, phony ponies or falls, MAKE SURE THEY ARE SUPER PINNED AND SECURED! Bring make up you’re wearing for touch-up along with, wipes, tissues and a towel.


Just make sure that you have space for which ever props you decide to use….no need for Isis Wings if you the only space you have is in between tables! If you use fire, make sure you’re insured and the restaurant allows it.


Please, Please, PLEASE, whatever you do…..DO NOT pick up any money off of the floor! It’s not a good look for a belly dancer, you should be paid enough for your set that losing a few dollars shouldn’t matter…..however, the establishment should be collecting those tips that didn’t make it into your hands or costume or tip pot (or however you prefer to receive tips), and delivering them to you after your set when they pay you.

Final tips

Be on time, be courteous and friendly, keep your business cards handy (you never know!) and keep a small bag or small carry-on with wheels (I tend to prefer the latter) to put your costume, shoes, makeup, pins, music (basically everything!) in, it makes getting in and out much easier! Lastly, make sure that the restaurant has a place where you can store you bag resting assured that it will not be disturbed. Have fun and break a zill!

BIO: Roena is professional belly dance Artist in Orlando, FL offering elegant, exotic and lively performances for weddings, parties, festivals and restaurants. You will also find her performing around Central, FL as a member of Troupe Ahram of Ilham Bellydance Academy.