Tips on hiring a belly dancer on a budget
Hiring a belly dancer for a special occasion can be a great way to add some spark and excitement to your event. However, it can also be quite costly, especially if you’re on a budget. Fortunately, there are some ways you can save money when hiring a belly dancer. Here are some negotiating tips to help you plan the show of your dreams without breaking your wallet.
1. Plan your event on a weekday. Usually bellydancers are less busy Monday- Wednesday and if you have a party midweek, it is more likely that she will not only be available, but also more willing to be flexible on price.
2. Schedule the time of the performance either early or late. Planning the bellydance performance during off-peak times can also help because it allows the dancer to stack multiple shows in a night. For example, if you have the belly dance performance somewhere between 4-6pm or 12am and later, it is more likely that she can lower her price since she'll still be able to accept other bookings for the evening. However, if you plan to have the belly dance show during peak hours from 8-11pm, expect to pay higher prices since that is prime time and the most in demand time for bellydance shows. The point is to keep in mind the bellydancer's schedule and the more you can work around her schedule, the more will she'll be to work with your budget.
3. Find a bellydancer close to the event location. The closer the event is to where the bellydancer is based, the more she'd be willing to lower the price. For instance if she only has a few blocks to drive to your event, it's more likely she can reduce her price. On the contrary, if she has a long way to go, most likely she will add a travel fee to compensate for her time and mileage.
4. Minimize the length of show and the number of costume changes and props that the bellydancer will use. Another option is to have the bellydancer perform what's often called a "belly gram" a 5- 10 min show (approximately 1-2 songs). Mini shows are a great way for bellydancers to squeeze multiple events in one night, however this is only feasible if the dancer does in fact have other shows. It is unlikely that she'll want to spend all the time getting ready, preparing her show and driving to the event just for a 5-10 min show unless she has other shows to make it worth her time. This option doesn't have as much bargaining power as the first 3 options but it is still worth asking the bellydancer in case she is willing to lower her price for a shorter show.
5. Offer non-monetary compensation to supplement the discounted price. If you don't have the budget to pay the full amount, think of non-monetary ways you can supplement the payment with. For instance, if you are the owner of a beauty salon, you could offer her a free beauty treatment to supplement the price of her show. If you think you have something of value to offer the dancer, she may be open to accepting collaborations or trade deals to supplement her discounted rate. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with a dancer’s rate and come up with ways you can collaborate.
As a disclaimer, not all bellydancers are willing to give their 100% if they are not getting paid their full rate. As the saying goes "you get what you pay for". I've heard many a horror story where dancers were booked on a budget and either didn't show up because they overbooked themselves, or arrived stressed and late or cut their show short in order to hurry up and make it to the next one. It's important that when choosing your dancer, you find a true professional who will show up on time and in a calm and composed manner. Professional dancers will take into consideration variables that affect timing such as traffic, delays in event schedules such as speeches and presentations that go longer than expected. While a professional dancer will take these normal delays into account and will allow some flexibility with her time, it is important to value her time and compensate accordingly.
Keep in mind that kindness and respect go a long way. If you are able to come to an amicable agreement where both you and the dancer are genuinely happy with the deal, then it is very likely she will still giver her all and provide her best, most beautiful performance for you even with the adjusted price. If you value the dancer's time, she will value yours.
These are just some ideas on ways to hire a belly dancer on a budget, however not all bellydancers are open to negotiation and it is no guarantee that anyone will offer discounts. That being said, there is no harm in politely asking as long as you remain respectful to her art and her time. Hiring a belly dancer can be a great way to add extra excitement to your event and with these tips you can open up a conversation to help you get the most for your money and have an amazing experience.