Belly Dancer Fees

Belly Dancer Fees

What is a Professional Belly Dancer?
A professional belly dancer performs for pay and has a vast knowledge of Middle Eastern dance technique, styles, music, and trends. She/he understands the cultural context of various Middle Eastern dances and has a high degree of performance skills. He or she has spent a great deal of time perfecting his/her craft and performs at a professional level, accepted by the larger community of professional belly dancers.

She/he spends hundreds, and even thousands of dollars on costumes, make-up, hair, jewelry, props, etc… For example, most professional costumes range between $500 and $1000 each. Additionally, a professional dancer will use marketing materials, such as websites, advertising, gas and more, just like any other business. Like other performing artists, he/she most likely has spent thousands of dollars on training to get to the professional level and more on continued professional development. Hundreds to thousands of hours are spent practicing, too.

Before arriving at your party/venue, the dancer has to prepare his/herself by selecting and editing music, burning a cd, preparing the dances he/she will perform, selecting the right costume/s and props, applying performance make-up and traveling to your event.

The cost of a belly dancer is similar to that of hiring a clown, juggler, magician, and/or dancers of other art forms. However, in some areas, belly dancer fees are slightly lower. Belly dancers across the nation are working hard to unite and create professional standards and ethics, which is one reason for the up rise of belly dance forums and union-like groups for belly dancers.

Mellilah performs for a private party in Lake Chelan, WA

Mellilah performs for a private party in Lake Chelan, WA

Do belly dancers have different rates?
In most communities throughout the nation, professional belly dancers have come to a general consensus on how much to charge, a minimum fee for given situations. Should you find a dancer charging less, most likely, you can expect the individual to have lower than professional standards – buyer beware! These dancers may be students or women who have not received adequate training. In our dance communities, it is generally frowned upon for novices/students to charge for their services and/or to present themselves as working dancers, selling their services to the public. (However, there are other outlets for students to perform, such as: haflas and student recitals.)

Although there is usually a set minimum, some dancers may charge more. These dancers may be more in demand or may be choosing to limit their hours, only catering to higher end clients. Additionally, dancers in the “higher end” may offer unique specialties or may simply have more tenure. Of course, a higher fee doesn’t guarantee higher quality, but it’s a good rule of thumb.

Some dancers will list their prices on their websites. This is usually the minimum base fee, and most dancers will adjust these fees, adding on for extraordinary travel time, additional use of props, additional costume changes, a longer show, size of the audience, holiday shows, etc…

The frequency of performances will also affect pricing. For example, if a restaurant hires a belly dancer to dance on a weekly or monthly basis, a dancer is able to accept less for his/her performance. In most areas, there is also a set minimum for these types of recurring performances.

For a list of recommended venues in the Greater Seattle area that host belly dancing, visit

For more info about the author, visit

About Mellilah Jamal

Mellilah teaches belly dance classes in Redmond and Bothell and performs for private parties and restaurants throughout Seattle.

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