on Getting Tips
This may be an article of little use for seasoned dancers who
know how to work a crowd and always end up with lots of tips at
the end of the night or those who have been dancing at the same
establishment for years. Instead, I’ve written this article for
those who are new to performing professionally or those who may
be unsure of how to properly receive tips, in any sort of setting.
This is not
an argument for or against the ways in which a dancer should be
tipped. Would you rather receive them in a basket or belt,
or have them showered over your head? That is up to you and the
place where you dance. Each to her own. Over the years,
I’ve taken tips in my belt, my bra strap, showered over my head,
as an origami figure (twice, shaped as a ring and placed on my
finger!), or simply placed in a pot or basket.
I base the
following advice on my own personal experience of dancing in restaurants
weddings and clubs for over 13 years. Here are a few tips on getting
ever expect tips, you may be disappointed. Have you ever felt
like you were begging for tips? Don’t do it. If your audience
knows/wants to tip, they will. Don’t force it. There may be
nights where you go home without making any tips.
- If you
are the hired entertainer for an establishment, tipping is not
required of the audience. Some audiences don’t know that they
are expected to tip. Don’t take it personally. I usually dance
twice for the same audience, but I only bring my tipping
pot around to them once. However, I leave it out for people
who would like to tip me again can do so. One place where I
used to dance would put a basket out by the door with a sign
that read “Dancer Tips” and people would usually put more money
in it on their way out.
- I always
try to make tipping personable and fun. Always say thank you!
No matter how you take their money, always say
thank you. Thank you very much, shoukran, merci, etc. Thank
your patrons for giving you their tips. It also doesn’t hurt
to also thank them for coming to the place where you are dancing:
“Thank you for coming to Marrakech!” and other small talk can
be fun for your audience.
- Don’t single
men out for opportunities to tip. Women love Belly dancing too!
I’ve often seen women giving their men money for tips. When
you accept this money, thank the man and the woman
for the tip. Often , I smile at the woman patron and thank her
- If you
make it hard for someone to tip you, either with a big shimmy
or swaying your tip pot, the tipper and the audience loves
it. I get the same reaction no matter the nationality, event,
or circumstance. For all audiences and all occasions, I always
try to make tipping personable and fun. From making it a challenge
to put the money in your pot/tucked in your belt to simply talking
to your audience and saying “Thank you!”
- For those
who are uncomfortable with body tipping and would like to transition
to other ways of accepting tips: Set the standard at the restaurant/club
where you perform so everyone is doing it the same way. Consistency
is the key.
would like this to be a “to be continued” article because I am
sure that there are many other great tips on how to collect tips.
I would love to hear them! I started out thinking that I had to
be a mysterious and exotic dancer, never communicating with my
audience. Now, years later, I understand that communication is
the key to establishing rapport. I believe that if you are personable
and are having fun, your audience will shower you with
money, even on your worst night!
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
The Blind and Bellydance
had a genuine joy in her smile as she shimmied and swayed to the
music as her husband sat and enjoyed his wife's enthusiasm.
The Joy (and Pain)
of Collecting Tips by Sandra
been collecting tips for almost 10 years now, and it's only in
the last 2 or 3 years that I've really felt confident about it.
Calling all professional
dancers! How much do you charge? by Nanna Candelaria
the years, we dancers have unwittingly kept the general rate ridiculously
low in restaurants and nightclubs.
Field Report from the Dance
Gig Front by Surreyya Hada
a pause, and a little embarrassment, I threw my hands up at him
in disgust and walked away. The audience laughed loudly.
12-30-06 I Dance; You
Follow by Leila
Westerners interested in an Eastern dance form, we might want
to ask ourselves if we are missing certain critical aspects of
Raqs Sharki because we are not open to Eastern teaching methods.