What types of customers have you worked with?
Mellilah performs professionally as a
soloist for restaurants, corporate events and
private parties throughout the Puget Sound area,
specializing in Egyptian style, cane, sword, veil, zills, shamadan, and fans. She often dances with a live Middle Eastern band and musicians and has been featured in many of Seattle's restaurants and large-scale stage productions.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
First, be sure the dancer has a professional looking website with a lot of photos showing different high quality costuming. This is a sign of a professional.
A professional belly dancer should list their credentials, including certification programs, professional development and an archive of past performances.
Does the dancer also teach dance classes? Most professional dancers do.
Does the dancer have video? A belly dancer will usually include a video on her website so you can preview their art. I highly recommend looking at this, first. Keep in mind that a stage show is much different than an improvisational show at a restaurant or private party.
How much should it cost? In most communities throughout the nation, professional belly dancers have come to a general consensus on how much to charge, a minimum fee for given situations. Should you find a dancer charging less, most likely, you can expect the individual to have lower than professional standards buyer beware! These dancers may be students or women who have not received adequate training. In our dance communities, it is generally frowned upon for novices/students to charge for their services and/or to present themselves as working dancers, selling their services to the public. Although there is usually a set minimum, some dancers may charge more. These dancers may be more in demand or may be choosing to limit their hours, only catering to higher end clients. Additionally, dancers in the higher end may offer unique specialties or may simply have more tenure. Of course, a higher fee doesnt guarantee higher quality, but its a good rule of thumb.
Many dancers will list their prices on their websites. This is usually the minimum base fee, and most dancers will adjust these fees, adding on for extraordinary travel time, additional use of props, additional costume changes, a longer show, size of the audience, holiday shows, etc.
The frequency of performances will also affect pricing. For example, if a restaurant hires a belly dancer to dance on a weekly or monthly basis, a dancer is able to accept less for his/her performance. In most areas, there is also a set minimum for these types of recurring performances.