Beware the Belly Dancer: 3 Things to Avoid when Hiring a Belly Dancer

You’ve had the fantastic idea of hiring a belly dancer to liven up your next event, but in the back of your mind you start to wonder if the party might get too lively. You worry about inviting your parents or what people will think if children are present.


Where is her skirt?!

Sound familiar? Many people have these thoughts especially if they have seen a seductive movie scene featuring a belly dancer or if they have had the unfortunate experience of seeing an inappropriate belly dancer at the local Middle Eastern restaurant. Let the buyer beware because there is no belly dance license to assure that only qualified belly dancers perform.

In the belly dance entertainment world, performances range from professional and family-friendly to nearly R rated to downright embarrassing. While I won’t go into how these less than desired categories arose, I can help you find a belly dancer to hire who won’t make your party guests uncomfortable (unless that is the effect you are going for). Here are 3 things to avoid when deciding what belly dancer is right for your party.

1. Inappropriate dancing

The video above is from a Bollywood movie, but clearly illustrates one type of belly dancer to avoid hiring for your all ages event.

Protect your guests against inappropriate belly dancing by watching some of the prospective belly dancer’s videos. It really doesn’t take that long to watch a couple of performance clips. Look for inappropriate dance movements (vigorous pelvic thrusting, suggestive floor-work, chest shaking in someone’s face, etc.) or inappropriate interaction with the audience. You will know it when you see it!

Many dancers may take a guest’s hand to lead them up to the dance floor, however, a guest should never be dragged up to dance against their will. Anything beyond holding a hand or tying a hip scarf on the guest of honor is questionable behavior.

With free internet video services like YouTube, there aren’t many reasons why a dancer wouldn’t post a promo video or two unless she is inexperienced and has no videos or offers them privately to interested clients.

ill fitting costume

This costume clearly does not fit the dancer well and is a “Janet Jackson moment” waiting to happen both with the top and the skirt!

2. Inappropriate costuming

Professional belly dancers will have a wide range of well made costumes from full coverage dresses to some modern pieces that could be child-inappropriate. Check out the dancer’s photo gallery. Do you see a wide range of costumes or only a few ill-fitting or inappropriate costumes? The best way to avoid a costume disaster is to talk to the performer and agree on how conservative the costume should be before hand.

3. Inappropriate professional behavior

How the belly dancer behaves before and after the performance is also important to consider. Will she show up late? Will she be rude to your guests? Will she drain your bar and stick around too long after the show? Will she try to seduce your guests?

As ridiculous as some of these questions seem, they are valid. Is the dancer you wish to hire a well established professional with great customer reviews and a legitimate business or is she a party girl relying on her extrovert personality and a cheap costume to make some beer money posing as a belly dancer? A true professional belly dancer will care greatly about  her reputation because her business is paying for her rent and retirement.

Taking 10 minutes to research these three “inappropriate elements” can prevent the stress and embarrassment of dealing with an inappropriate belly dancer. Your guests will be thankful to see a beautiful and professional belly dance performance at your event!

Have you seen an inappropriate belly dance show? What made it inappropriate to you? Please comment below with your story.

• Meet the Author • Nyla Crystal

Dr. Nyla Crystal holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and performs family-friendly shows for weddings, birthday parties, and corporate events in the Silicon Valley portion of the San Francisco Bay Area. She also co-directs the international award-winning Troupe Scimitar and the Dangerous Beauties Belly Dance show. Learn more about Santa Clara belly dancer, Nyla Crystal.

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