I’m sure a lot of you when reading the title are going to assume that I’m going to give my opinions as to what is “right” and “wrong” about certain things in bellydance. That is not the case at all. What I want to put forth in this blog post is a method to help clients and customers who hire a dancer and may not get what they want. This will either help them get want they want in the future OR give them additional questions and research to do before hiring a dancer. I have encountered some of these myself as a performer as well as a dancer liason at venues.
The first step is not to assume. Everyone assumes that dancers can read their minds just as dancers think that owners know what they are getting into with dancers. This not always the case. The idea of a bellydance show in the client’s mind may be completely different from yours.

Here are a few examples:

A. Your client saw a dancer on TV and thinks that you are going to do the same thing. Perhaps they saw someone sit on a birthday boy’s lap? Or saw someone dance around a chair singled out in the middle of the dance floor.

If a dancer refuses to do so then you have lost your entertianment for the evening. If she agrees but isn’t happy about it then you’ve got a performer but not the same upbeat one that you might have wanted.

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B. Your client things you are being too sexy or not sexy enough. Or in some cases, doesn’t understand why you aren’t removing your clothing.

If you are looking for removal of clothing then a stripper is the way you want to go. If a dancer is asked to remove clothing and they aren’t a stripper, they will be very offended. And if your crowd is there for that kind of entertainment, things might get out of hand.

C. Your client is of a specific culture and/or the audience is of a specific culture. They could only want a certain type of music. Or they are so familiar with it and folkloric dances that they will know if a song should or should not be used for it.

The dancer may not be familiar with the music or hasn’t studied that form of dance. In that case, they aren’t purposely disappointing you, they just don’t know. There are also cases in which dancers haven’t done the research and doesn’t care to do so. But in either case, they may end up offending your guests without realizing it.

All of these things can end up with an unhappy dancer, an unhappy owner and most importantly, unhappy guests and customers. These are when bellydance has gone wrong, when the expectations are not set, are not explained and then subsequently not met.

Have any of your own experiences to share? Feel free to do so in the comments below! I look forward to reading your responses.