The Cost of Going Cheap
Dear Restaurant/Venue Owners and Clients who hire Dancers and also (later in post) to DANCERS –
Yes, you can shop around for dancers. You can *still look around* after you talk to me or my dance friends I refer. I would like to just like to have you understand there is a big difference when you decide to go the cheaper route and how negatively it will affect your business. If you want more than a girl with a basic costume and basic makeup – it is going to cost more. If you want to give your customers/guests that fierce energy, real-ness, talent, depth and experienced top-quality performances from TRAINED dancers who have travelled to study Middle Eastern Dance across the U.S.A and the Middle East (and beyond), it will cost more. If you want to see quality handmade custom costumes that FIT WELL and are made in Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, etc., and not bras and wrap tops from Amazon - or worse – leftover dingy bras from the forgotten drawer… it is going to cost more. If you want dancers that are educated and culturally appropriate and knowledgeable to the music where it is not going to offend anyone – it will cost more. Your customers, your guests, and YOU will experience and KNOW the difference. If you want to WOW your customers with more than just a hip drop…. It will cost more. If you want to make that real impression – it will cost more.
If you want a filet mignon and not a frozen Salisbury steak from the local generic gas station – it will cost more. If you want the delicious Sushi from the Japanese Steakhouse and not the freezer bought sushi from the gas station... it is going to cost more.
But if you want to save that dollar… OK.
A budget is a budget and an impression/experience will cost you both negatively and positively. I would not cut and do not corners on my business or parties. People will and do talk – positively and negatively.
We put our dollar value amount based on the time and money we have invested in our dance. It is very expensive to be a dancer. When you pay a dancer, you are supporting not only her art, but her ability to continue to dance and to bring you a quality show. We are able to invest in ourselves to continue to grow and better serve your customers and guests. There are so many COSTS to make a quality presentation. We also can afford to feed ourselves! Yes like you, we want to make a profit too!
Also – when you support working Dancers, we are able to support others by paying costume designers, musicians, shoe makers, etc.
If we don’t get paid – guess what? Some of us will get so tired and quit. We cannot suffer for dance. You lost providing quality entertainment to your guests when that time comes. Sad.
If you want to be able to afford dancing, or MAKE A LIVING dancing – make the investment and plunge in your dance education, cultural knowledge, and business. Yes it is going to be expensive and add up, every business makes that financial risk. Get involved in the dance community with other like minded girls who can be there for you and help. There is power in numbers and ways to be profitable. We actually are a very supportive community in NC. We don’t bite. Are you ready to lose the ego and receive and connect with other dancers?
Dancers who dance for fun or just want to “get out there and be in a costume” – there are haflas and events you can attend that are put on where you can dance and wear your costume. There ARE different avenues you can take other than under selling a once well paying venue from another dancer to a venue where the money is only $25-50 to dance all night?? There are also ways for you to put that higher value on your dance.
So many dancers get involved in dance and make all the SHORTCUTS and also cut themselves short. When they do this, they also cut the working dancers and the art form short. People will never take dancers or the dance seriously. We will just be “belly dancers” and it will just be that “belly dance” that have little to no monetary value. They will continue to haggle us.
Dancers who do this will dance themselves broke and never elevate themselves further in dance education or are able to afford expanding their business. They stay the same.
I just can’t stay the same.
There is so much depth and value in the dance to stay in one space. So much more even for me to learn and experience. If I COULD not afford to be a dancer, I would not be doing this. I have so much love for this ART and dance that I make sure I can afford it. I work my shimmy off. I fight so much for it.
I could say so much more... BUT I have to start working.
With SO much Love,
Yara Sultan (Who just had a venue undersold)
P.s. All this can also apply to other arts (photography, tattoo artists, web designers, DJs)