booking a belly dancer sydney

January 1st, 2014

Hiring a Belly Dancer is a really fun way to liven up any party, here are some thing to consider when hiring a Professional Belly Dancer:
Professional Belly Dancers are Professional Entertainers. Most professional entertainers are booked weeks and months in advance. If you are planning entertainment for an event you may want to book the entertainers prior to sending the invitations.

Professional Dancers often travel to different states and countries and have need to schedule their time. A Professional Belly Dancer may book several shows in one day, or evening. Since she will make sure that you entertainment is appropriate for you event, she may need to schedule time for an appriate costume change, or time for travel between events.

A Professional Belly Dancer has to plan for costume changes, travel time, meals, restroom stops, batteries and fuel. A Professional Dancer will also plan to for having her hair done, doing her make up, a manicure, and pedicure. She many want to have the appropriate costume cleaned. A Professional Belly Dancer is a Professional Belly Dancer. Do not expect a stripper, or expect the dancer to jump out of a cake. Some Professional Belly Dancers may perform for bachelor parties, when booking a bachelor party they may also include the cost of a body guard.

Amount of notice needed:

Some Professional Belly Dancers may be available on short notice, if they are make sure you tip well, because you may be interrupting other plans.( I promise you, they sitting in their costume waiting for the phone to ring.) If you want the dancer present at you whole event, she may request compensation for the time she can not be available for another booking. It is also important to adhere to your booked time for the performance, since the dancer may have to leave for another scheduled event. Since week-end evenings provide the biggest demand for dancers, the will most like book a many jobs as possible in that time frame.

Type of show:

What kind of show are you wanting? Are you booking her (them) for a 15 minute belly gram at the office, or booking the dancer for a wedding that you expect her to attend for the evening? Are you expecting a show, a lesson, or both? How many dancers are you wanting to hire? Do you want a troupe performance or separate solo dances? Are you expecting her to sing for the occasion as well?

Auditions:

Do not expect a Professional Belly Dancer to “audition.” Most Professional Dancers have a web page and have video available . When you hire them you are paying for their time. Also, if you wish to video tape you event you will need to get permission to do so.

Evlalution for space:
Different styles of Belly Dancing can require different amounts of space. If the dancer is planning to dance with a sword, veil or candelabra she will need more space. Will she be dancing on a stage, a dance floor, carpet or the grass in the back yard? (Have you ever tried to dance in the grass in high heel shoes?) She probably wants to know this information because her footwear and costume choices may be different.

Type of Event:

Different kinds of events may require different kinds of shows. Some of the typical events that people hire Belly Dancer are: birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, fund raisers, batchelorette parties, bridal showers, retirement parties, ethnic festival, theme parties, Renaissance festivals, Greek and Middle-Eastern restaurants and theme parties, rehabs, and nursing homes.

Sound System and Musicians:

Most dancers have their own sound system, but if this is a large or outdoor event, the dancer many need a microphone or PA, or sound system. Let her know if you will be providing these or expect her to provide them. There will be a difference in the cost. Some events provide musicains and some dancer will request musicans for a performance. The dancer will want to know something of the band a head of time. The dancer can also recomder a band for a larger event. The dancer and musicans will also want to know if there is someplace to secure props and equipement when they are not being used. Costumes, equipment and props can be very expensive and hard to replace. You may get a bill if there items are lost or destroyed.

Parking:

Parking can be an important issue. Make sure the dancer has parking close to the entrance. If the dancer is arriving dressed in the middle of winter please make sure that she doesn’t have to walk down the block in her sandals and chiffon skirt in the rain. If this is a big event, please do not expect her to walk a mile before she performs. (If the dancer is not arriving dressed, whee will want to know what kind of facilities are available before she will take the booking.) .

Belly dancing improves body image and satisfaction
Shimmy your way to body love
Belly dancers have a better body image, Flinders research shows. Credit: Shutterstock.
Belly dancers are more satisfied with their bodies and have better body image than young women who don’t belly dance, new Flinders University research shows.

In a survey of more than 200 Adelaide women, the belly dancers scored higher marks for positive body image and lower on measures of body dissatisfaction and self-objectification than a group of university students who had never belly danced.
A total of 112 belly dancers from two Adelaide dance schools were interviewed as part of the research, along with 101 university students.
Led by Flinders body image expert Professor Marika Tiggemann, the study aimed to determine whether belly dancing fosters a greater sense of connection, or “embodiment”, between the body, mind and spirit, thereby leading to positive body image.
“Embodiment refers to the sense of ownership, trust, respect and self-expression of the body,” Professor Tiggemann, based in the School of Psychology, said.
“In the Australian context, we found that belly dancing is an embodying activity because it requires focused attention on breathing and torso muscles, as well as strength and flexibility, all of which calls on the dancers to communicate with their bodies,” she said.
“Belly dancing also has a strong mental and physical element of being ‘in the moment’, which is another characteristic of embodiment.”
Professor Tiggemann said the effects of belly dance on body image were largely driven by reduced “self-objectification”, meaning the dancers didn’t view or treat their bodies as objects based on other people’s thoughts.self
“The belly dancers weren’t so focused on external appearance but more the internal experiences and competencies of the body.
“Unlike some forms of dance such as ballet, the belly dancers we surveyed didn’t feel outside pressures to be and remain thin – not only is belly dancing open to women of all shapes and sizes, the belly dancers said they participated because it makes them feel good, not for the gaze of others.”
While belly dance is often viewed as an exotic and sexually alluring activity, Professor Tiggemann said she was surprised to find the belly dance group didn’t embrace their sexuality any more than the university cohort.
She said further research was required to test embodiment across a wider range of recreational activities and life stages in order to determine the best way and time to use it.
“It may well be that other more mindful activities such as yoga and meditation, which have been shown to reduce levels of self-objectification, body dissatisfaction and disorder eating, may have a more direct effect on positive body image because of their greater focus on internal experience.
“It would also be useful to find out whether there is a critical period in the lifespan that embodying activities need to be engaged in for maximum benefit.
“For example, it might be particularly crucial in adolescence; a time when many Australian girls are currently dropping out of organised sport, often for appearance-based reasons.”
The findings, Professor Tiggemann said, highlight the need to encourage women and girls to participate in physical activities that “focus on being in and using the body”, such as athletics, hiking or circus skills.
“Importantly, this recommendation represents a positive step, in contrast to most strategies used to combat negative body image such as not reading fashion magazines and not comparing yourself to other women.”

Just a beautiful Belly dancer!!

http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/360871491702/100-year-old-belly-dancer

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — She’s been dancing for more than 70 years and she has no plans to quit.

Catherine Furst of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida celebrated her 100th birthday this past weekend by slipping into the belly dancing outfit she wore in the 1970s.

“I started when I was about 30, I think,” Furst told ABC affiliate WPBF-TV. “That’s when I had a shape.”

Furst was a hairdresser by trade, but says she made extra money on the side by dancing in the salon where she worked. She also danced for customers at private parties in their homes.

As for her love of belly dancing now, she credits her hobby for her long-lasting health.

“I don’t feel 100,” Furst said.

January 1st, 2014

Check list when booking a Bellydancer Sydney

Hiring a Bellydancer is understandably not easy. Given there is so many to choose from with beautiful pictures and great looking websites.

But who guarantees YOU that the person you think you are booking looks the same as their picture on their website?? and is the dancer a good dancer , or a student dancer and can they entertain?

Here is a go to list of must haves whilst booking a belly dancer in Sydney

1) Video footage:
Every professional bellydancer should have AT LEAST one video to showcase their work…if the bellydancer you are hiring doesn’t have one on her website, I would definitely ask her to send you a link!

2) Photo gallery:
I have had so many people asking me before “are you really the same person from the photos on your website?”. Many customers have hired bellydancers that looked so glamourous and gorgeous in the pictures and when they arrive at the party they look completely different…

For this reason it is always good to have a studio photo gallery as well performances photos where the customers can see the REAL you!

3) Costume
The way bellydancers present themselves is very important, the combination of a good costume, accessories and make up, makes all the difference! Sometimes you don’t need to have the most expensive costumes, but the way you combine these three elements can make you look classy and elegant.

4) Entertainment V’s Dancing skill
Not all entertainers are good dancers and vice versa. In my opinion, if you hire a professional you are looking for the whole package right?

5) Years of experience
We all know that older wines taste better. Check the dancer’s experience. How long has she being dancing? What are the highlights in her career or prestigious events at which she has danced? I have seen many dancers as well with not that many years of experience but deliver a great show…so this is not the most important item in your check list, but definitely something to consider.

6) Music
Make sure you let her know your music choice, don’t expect the bellydancer to guess your nationality or which music you enjoy. If you are Lebanese, Turkish, Egyptian or Greek, or you want an arabic mix, you need to be clear about your preferences if you know what you want.

7) Watch her performance live
Normally a dancer will list her regular jobs on her website, so before you hire her you can always go and watch her live performance. If she doesn’t have a regular show every week you need then to come back to number 1 and ask her for her video footage.

Now that you have a quick list to look at when hiring a professional bellydancer, I hope you enjoy her performance and have a great event! Nothing worse than getting frustrated and disappointed with what should be the highlight of the night!

Layla’s Dancers

November 14th, 2011

Click on the images below to see our dancers in action.
Hover over the thumbnails to get more information.

Should Layla be unavailable due to scheduling. Please find pictures below of some of the best Bellydancers in Sydney.

Why one dancer when you can have two or more?!

Add that extra level of spice and extravaganza to your event with paired & grouped belly-dancing beauties! Bellydance Queen Entertainment can organise any variety of dancers you need to meet your event needs! From group choreography, to dance-offs, we’ve got it covered!

Belly Dance Fusion – BellySamba & Bellywood … Spice up your event with Fusion BOOK NOW!

November 4th, 2011

Great article on Belly dance in Turkey

by Courtney
Photos and video by Andre Elbing
posted November 19, 2013
With the rise of YouTube, dancers can learn from master belly dancers from the comfort of their living rooms. The ability to watch and absorb the unique variations and styles of bellydance from all over the world is only a mouse click away. However, in spite of technology bringing the world to us, there is nothing like studying with dancers in person. Festivals provide an opportunity to bring belly dancers together, not only to meet other dancers from different communities, but also to see what styles are popular in different parts of the world and to study with master instructors.

I was fortunate to attend Tarazade Festival in Istanbul, Turkey this September. It was the first festival I had attended outside of the United States and I am pleased to have had the experience of traveling to a festival where dozens of dancers had gathered with, in some cases, only the dance in common. On the opening night, promoter Tara told a well attended room that there were dancers present from 24 countries. The dancer who had come the farthest was from Alaska, but there were dancers from India, Japan, Morocco, France, Germany, Brazil – I could go on.

Zafirah of Canada performs Turkish Roma at the Welcome Party
I first became aware of the Tarazade Festival from Aziza of Canada, who had attended Tarazade in 2012. I had been to Istanbul before and was excited to have a great reason to go back. After I saw the list of instructors who would be offering workshops, I had all the reason I needed to commit to going: Sema Yildiz, Didem, Azad Kaan, Aziza & Issam Houshan, Jillina, Lulu Sabongi and so many more.

From a participant’s point of view, the set-up was the following: for a flat fee dancers got a hotel room, ten hours of workshops, and entrance into three shows (one of which served dinner). One of the shows was an open stage, where dancers who were attending the festival could sign up to dance in an evening show. Any of the individual elements could be purchased a la carte, including additional hours of workshop time. My husband traveled with me and Tara offered a package for travel companions. There were two hotel options: dancers could stay at the Barcelo Eresin Topkapi, which was where the shows and workshops were held or they could stay at a hotel in Sultanahmet if they wanted to be closer to the old city and tourist attractions. In total, 60 hours of workshops were offered, including topics from Turkish folklore, Oriental, Egyptian to fusion.

I chose to sign up for 10 hours of workshops, opting to do 5 workshops that were 2 hours each to maximize the number of teachers with whom I could dance. I left the rest of my schedule free so that I could have some down time and go see the city. At any point during the festival, I could have visited the registration table to purchase more workshop hours if I had wanted.

The five workshops I attended over four days were challenging and fun, which is what I had hoped. I love workshopping. It’s so much fun to dance to someone else’s rhythm and it’s hard to walk away not feeling inspired.

Azad Kaan performs at the Turkish Night Gala
My workshop assortment was with Lulu Sabongi, Azad Kaan, Aziza & Issam, Didem, and Jillina. The workshop menu included a description of the topic as well as a level indication, so that dancers could choose their challenge level. The instructors kept the level of dancing high and in line with the advertised level.

The focus at this festival was not only the joy of dancing, but also learning and growing as an artist! Tarazade offered an opportunity to get performance feedback without the added pressure of competition through the “Train With the Stars” option, which I wish I had done. Dancers who signed up and paid the extra fee would perform for Aziza, Jillina, and Azad Kaan for detailed and personalized performance feedback and critique. As a student dancer or really any level of dancer, the feedback from world-renowned artists is invaluable, and it’s a unique feature of Tarazade to give student dancers close access to established dancers and a vehicle to improve in a personalized setting. In addition to this specific workshop, other instructors offered in-depth feedback to attendees of their workshops.

The evening shows were great and well balanced in terms of content. Although they sometimes ran a bit late into the evening given the long days and early mornings, the level of dancing was high. The opening night gala and Turkish night show featured performances from many of the instructors who had come to Istanbul from all over the world. Every performance, from the elegant style of Lulu Sabongi of Brazil to the energetic bravado of Luxor of Russia, was a reflection of each dancer’s art and individual influence. At the Turkish Night Gala, Tara honored Sema Yildiz and Didem with the “Belly” award, which was to show gratitude for their contributions to the art form of belly dance.

Nicole Group from Japan performs at the Opening Gala
Tara also organized an optional dinner cruise down the Bosphorus on the evening that there was not a show. I did not attend, but the feedback from the other dancers was that it was a memorable evening with folkloric dance and, of course, belly dancing.

No belly dance festival would be complete without shopping! Several Istanbul-based designers came to the festival to sell their costumes and many dancers took the opportunity to try on and buy something sparkly.

Not to be overlooked was the inclusion of Turkish music and folklore in all of the shows. At the welcome event, the opening gala and the Turkish night gala, spectacular musicians and Turkish dancers entertained the audience. Seeing such fantastic Turkish Roma dancing was truly inspiring and my biggest regret from attending this festival was that I didn’t attend a Turkish folklore workshop.

In addition to the amazing instructors, the energy amongst the other dancers was welcoming, energetic and inspiring and I felt that I left the festival with many new friends. I enjoyed watching the other dancers and troupes who came from around the world to learn and perform. The open stage is a great aspect of Tarazade. Any dancer who wanted to perform while in Istanbul had the opportunity to sign up to dance on the open stage. Many dancers wanted to dance and I understand that there was a waiting list. While it may be tempting to add more open stage dancing during the day in future festivals, as a performer in this show, it was quite nice that the open stage was an evening show where attention was not taken away from the performances by other workshops or vending. All levels of dancer performed from experienced professionals to one lovely woman who performed her first solo on the open stage.

My experience at Tarazade was overwhelmingly positive – I found the level of organization and the high level of instruction and performance to be extremely appealing to me. As a teacher, I would recommend Tarazade to any level of dancer because of the wide variety of stylistic offerings and also the inclusion of leveling information in the workshop descriptions, allowing for dancers to study at his or her appropriate pace.

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Belly Samba- Brazilian & Arabic Fusion

Why not captivate your guests with an explosive combination of Belly Dance and South American Dance ? An energetic and fun mix of Samba and Belly dance fused together for extra dazzle, which is sure to have you’re guest mesmerised and enthralled!

Bellywood- Bollywood & Bellydance Fusion

Dynamic mix of Bollywood and Bellydance is great fun, upbeat, colourful and very expressive! Bollywood dance generally accompanies films, the meaning of both dance and music add to and reflect the meaning of the films, themselves. The meaning of the music is expressed through the graceful movements of the body adding Bellydance to the mix spices up the dance and provideds extra dazzle!

Great article on Ethics and pricing

Undercutting the Competition
A Problem of Ethics or Practicality?

by Terry Del Giorno

I think we can be assured that Randa, Dina and Asmahan do not have a dialogue about what to charge (after they pay their teams of musicians, dressers, managers etc). Nor did Nagwa, Mona, or Fifi share tea over the subject. They charged what they wanted, what their fans would pay. If they didn’t get what they wanted, I doubt seriously that any of those fanan, current or past, would fall below their own established rates.

I grew up in a time where we didn’t discuss our fees; it was a time when you didn’t talk politics with people you didn’t know or even ask them about it. It was also a time before one could look on line and find out incomes and pensions of county workers. It was long before you could look online at a menu of prices on a dancer’s website. In theory, I concur with others who have written about this before: yes, we should agree on a starting price. Undercutting happens, and it is wrong!

However, in the real world, I think that, as professionals, we shouldn’t dance for less. In fact, maybe we should charge more!

Consider the budding student of dance who undercuts the professional at a restaurant gig. If the restaurant or club stays open long enough, and she works there long enough, it will become obvious that she’s not a professional in so many ways. She may pick the wrong music (such as using Debke for a Greek audience or a Loreena McKennitt song for the Lebanese Association Valentine’s dinner) …you get my drift. She might call in at the last minute and cancel, or worse, not show-up, because something else “came up”. She won’t know how to cover for the mishap that often can happen early in a performer’s career, making it part of her show …costume malfunctions, customers who are out-of-line, music mishaps, musician misunderstandings. (Don’t ask; I won’t tell!) God forbid, she might even perform a second set without charging! She won’t be able to respond in a cultural context to her audience, etc. Eventually, it will become obvious. Even the costumers will be able to tell. If the establishment has a reputation of any kind, she won’t be there long. In comparison, a professional dancer will help an establishment! Her performance will encourage repeat business for the owners as well as develop her following of fans.

Undercutting also occurs within the general public.

I recall an agency with which I used to contract. There was a fee schedule for women who looked like Belly dancers (They just dressed up like one and added to the atmosphere!) and a different one for “real” dancers. The agent was sensitive and savvy enough to realize there was a difference! With the vast amount of online advertising that promotes Belly dancers today, I think the sharpest web-page layouts and top search results, along with a cheaper price (and of course, the visual appeal) are what will appeal to mainstream. For some dancers, this might be their most effective gig generator. In contrast, the performer of yesteryear developed her following and reputation by working a lot, and hence, word-of-mouth was how her reputation was developed; it was not created by a website. This was the time (for me anyway) during which a dancer could charge and receive what she charged with ease–without “shopping around” or “Googling” for a cheaper price that occurs today.

The Internet presence has created a whole new style of “elitism” in the dance world.

Its standards are Photoshop, high-end graphics, certification, and merchandise. All of this requires an amount of assertiveness for a dancer who has relied previously on talent, ethics, and authenticity to be considered valuable and command the attention of the general public as it surfs the web.

Like other industries–music, musicians, singers, comedians, sports and athletes (especially)–name their price and get it (…amazingly, even though more than half the world’s population lives in poverty). You can engage a cover-band for approximately two thousand dollars to appear at a wedding and play Rolling Stones tunes, but you can’t get the Stones to come for that small amount!

In the San Francisco Bay Area particularly, yes, there has been undercutting. For 20 plus years, I have not only had my own, long-established gigs, but I have “subbed” for my dancer friends and club owner friends. My dance buddies like my track record because I would never steal their gigs, and club owners like it because they know they will get what they pay for. There are some places for which I will no longer substitute; they are paying dancers the same (if not less) than what I have previously charged them. (This is not just last year’s price, but the price of a dance a decade ago.)

Advanced students and budding professionals will work occasionally for significantly less money than established dance personalities. The consumer will pay what he wants, and will receive what he pays for. There are some consumers with discriminating tastes who are happy to pay a professional dancer.

I think the “fananas” out there who have been working their art for some time and have cultivated long standing relationships with their clients, would be reluctant to keep within an “agreed industry standard”.

You don’t want to rob anyone of his or her hard earned dollars, but your art shouldn’t be given away. Your prices for real dancing shouldn’t be less than “a walk-around” from an agency, or less than what you have charged in the past. Therefore, teachers, tell your students. Dancers, talk to other professionals in your area (…or check their websites)! Check the current rates.

Nowadays, there are a variety of venues to perform, with a variety of distinctions in the dance and the dancer.

I say let the consumer beware….you get what you pay for. If you want a 20 thousand dollar Scion Toyota, you can get one; if you want to pay more for a BMW you can get one of those.

Testimonials

November 4th, 2011
“A fantastic soloist and group performer, we know if we book Layla, our customers will be kept happy and treated to a feast for the eyes. Best Belly Dancer in Sydney!” Vlad Milevski, Manging Director  ~  Kazbah Restaurant Balmain, Darling Harbour and Top Ryde www.kazbah.com.au

“Layla is our beautiful star performer! Loved by all our customers and staff, she is a pleasure to watch. Her dancing, & costumes create an extravaganza and atmosphere that dazzles our customers and has them returning again and again!” Manouchehr Khatibi, Owner of Kolbeh,  ~  Persian Restaurant www.kolbehrestaurant.com.au

“Layla has danced for us every week for the past 6 years and not once have we been disappointed! Always, professional, punctual and beautifully turned out – she is beautiful to watch and brings that extra level of excitement that every night needs, Layla is the Best Belly Dancer in Sydney!” Omar Evran, Owner of Sahara  ~  Burwood www.sahraresturant.com

“We loved Layla! She made us feel we were somewhere exotic comfortable and gold-encrusted all at once – wonderful!” Anthea Crook Managing Director  ~  www.spoonfulzine.com

“Layla has provided us with her great entertainment service in several of our work functions. Layla is a talented performer who puts on an amazing belly dancing show she interacts fantastically with her audience. We are so pleased with Layla’s unique performance and we look forward to inviting her back to future work functions .” Mirna Massoud ~
“We love Layla! She is an amazing performer very elegant and graceful, and always professional, highly recommended” Sinem & Ozzer Ozz Owners of Sahara  ~  Parramatta www.sahraresturant.com

Hi Layla

I just wanted to say a great big thank you for your amazing show at our wedding the other weekend. Our guests were so surprised and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Your performance exceeded our expectations and your assistance with my general enquiries were very helpful leading up to the day.

Thank you again and we wish you all the best

Kind regards

Michelle and Eric Nebauer

Park Royal Wedding- July 2012

Sahara Restaurant Parramatta

November 4th, 2011

“We love Layla! She is an amazing performer very elegant and graceful, and always professional, highly recommended”

Mirna Massoud

November 4th, 2011

“Layla has provided us with her great entertainment service in several of our work functions. Layla is a talented performer who puts on an amazing belly dancing show she interacts fantastically with her audience. We are so pleased with Layla’s unique performance and we look forward to inviting her back to future work functions .” -

Spoon Fulzine

November 4th, 2011

“We loved Layla! She made us feel we were somewhere exotic comfortable and gold-encrusted all at once – wonderful!”

Sahara Restaurant

November 4th, 2011

“Layla has danced for us every week for the past 6 years and not once have we been disappointed! Always, professional, punctual and beautifully turned out – she is beautiful to watch and brings that extra level of excitement that every night needs, Layla is the Best Belly Dancer in Sydney!”

Kolbeh Restaurant

November 4th, 2011

“Layla is our beautiful star performer! Loved by all our customers and staff, she is a pleasure to watch. Her dancing, & costumes create an extravaganza and atmosphere that dazzles our customers and has them returning again and again!”