every bellydancer should know...basic gig questions

In my last couple of class sessions I've included a Performance class. In these we have chat sessions about topics and situations professional middle east dance (aka: bellydance) performers come across. This week we had a great sharing of ideas on what concerns the business side of the gig. We discussed everything from pricing to solo gigs to the not so great state (and almost non-existant) classic "dinner show" venue we would all like to see return to us (that's a whole different post!).

While on the subject of solo gigs I came up with a brief list of questions that are absolutely helpful to you, the performer, when preparing for a private party event. It is your job, as a professional, to provide the best show possible. Preparation is key.

The following are very basic but that's also why you should know to ask them of your client. Or at the very least be aware of them and come prepared with options.
If there is one thing I learned right away - NEVER ASSUME - that any of the basics are going to be available to you.

Clients don't think of these things which means you have to.
1. sound system - don't get stuck playing your music from a weak "boombox". Believe me, unless they are superior quality, they are never loud enough. Oh and ideas of what "superior quality" is may differ between you and your client.
2. floor surface - will you wear shoes, will you be barefoot? When you get your first gig where they expect you to dance on gravel -- believe me you'll remember to ask!
3. room layout - it doesn't have to be precise but an idea is useful so that you know what, if any, props to use.
4. dressing room - if you are not arriving in costume, this of course is obviously necessary.
5. mirror - just because they provide a dressing room does NOT mean it includes a mirror, just be prepared for that.
6. parking - will you have to park behind the 30 cars lining the streets that lead up to the residence where the event is held? Or will can you park closer?
7. storage - sometimes you do arrive in costume, but where can you leave your personal belongings so that they are safe?
8. payment arrangements - is it far enough in advance that you can ask for a deposit? Will you collect payment in cash, check? When?
9. biz card permission - don't just assume that you can leave your business cards on the kitchen counter on your way out, ask your client or better yet hand them a few as you thank them for doing business with you
10. guest of honor - before you start your set, always a good idea to ask who the guest of honor is at the event and it is ok to invite them to participate (get them to dance). Most of the time that's exactly what the client wants but like the theme of this post...you know what you get when you assume...

So there you have it. Now you can't say I didn't warn you!
I know these are very basic and there are SO many more things one could ask in preparation for a gig. What are some of the standard questions you ask? Please share!


  1. Don't forget to ask if there are any costuming requirements... ie, if it's a more conservative environment, they might not want you to show your belly!

    I have a whole list from the Anaya Tribal performance prep class but that's the only one I remember off the top of my head that isn't already on your list.

  2. Thanks for the list, Gina! Sometimes things that are obvious get forgotten in the rush of the moment (at least, that's what happens to me!).


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