Belly dance is a beautiful part of Middle Eastern art and culture. It's exact origins are vague, but Egyptian, Lebanese, Turkish, and Greek dancers have been belly dancing a very long time. Also known as Oriental Dance and Raqs Sharqi, bellydance came to America via the 1893 World’s Fair. The art has evolved over the past century due to influences from Hollywood glamour, as well as other newer dance forms, such as ballet, modern dance, and even hip hop. Today, the best professional belly dancers study the art, music, and Middle Eastern culture for many, many years before going "pro" and are continually refining their performance skills.
Why does a bellydancer cost so much? Some clients are surprised by a dancer's fee so to really appreciate our pricing, go "behind-the-scenes" ! Although the price tag may seem high for a relatively short window of time at your event, you are paying for all the things, beyond training, that make it possible for a professional entertainer to provide you with the high-quality performance you deserve (costuming, insurance, etc). You are also ensuring that a quality cultural arts thrives in your community. Do you want a skilled, experienced, well-groomed dancer performing in a professional costume? Or, are you okay with a student dancer performing in workout gear andher hair in a messy bun?
What can I expect from a belly dance performance? FUN, professional entertainment, glamour, mystery, audience interaction, and wonderful memories! Regardless of your package selection, there is a dramatic entrance to engage your guests, fun audience interaction, exciting music and props, and each show always end with a rousing drum solo.
What type of props can be used in a show? Raena can choose from several props to provide interest and compliment the music. Finger cymbals are very fun and popular with audiences. The sword or fire elements are always impressive especially with the men and children. The dramatic Isis wings are a crowd favorite. Silk veils are a classic belly dance accent and fan veils are modern addition that adds flair to any show.
Can I request certain songs? Yes…within reason! A typical, traditional belly dance show will be performed to Middle Eastern music. However, if you want to use a particular Western song, discuss it with Raena. You must make special requests at least two weeks before your show to ensure Raena has time to become familiar enough with the song to dance to it. Inappropriate songs will not be considered.
What if I need more than one belly dancer? No problem! Raena is part of the professional troupe Nadi El Raks and she is always happy to collaborate with her fellow professional artists to provide entertainment for large events or venues.
How far in advance should I book? The sooner the better - the best dancers book up fast! Also, weekend evenings are prime-time for events and dancers are often working around their ongoing restaurant performances. If Raena is unavailable, she will refer you to another well-qualified belly dancer.
What behavior is expected of my guests? Belly dancers love an enthusiastic, smiling audience. Positive energy from the audience brings out the best in a performer and everyone has more fun! Guests are encouraged to clap to the music, gasp at a sword trick, and cheer during shimmies - all within the realm of good taste, of course. Just be sure to allow the dancer plenty of space to dance and avoid crossing her path, especially if she has a sword on her head, a fire tray, etc. You or your guest might end up getting hurt or hurting the dancer. Note: Any inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated and, if necessary, the show will end immediately.
Can we tip the belly dancer? Yes! Tipping really gets a crowd excited and eager to participate in the show! It is a fun way to show the dancer how much everyone appreciates her skills. Raena will offer her hip (maybe even tease you with it!) or an arm cuff for you and your guests to place a bill. Another option is the traditional method of "showering" money over the dancer's head (rather than tipping on her body). This may be a more comfortable choice for some audience members. An assigned person will collect the tips off the floor and deliver them to Raena after her show.
Why is the belly dance costume revealing? Belly dancers use their belly! If they were all covered up, how would you be able to see the fine muscle control that the dancer has developed over years of practice and study? The costume is no different (and covers more) than a ballerina's leotard and tights. Americans tend to be nervous about belly dancing because they mix-up exotic with erotic. However, belly dance is a beautiful, family-friendly art form that celebrates women’s beautiful bodies in a way that is unique and empowering, not degrading or sexual. If there are cultural or religious concerns, Raena is happy to adapt her costume or perform in a full coverage Saidi or Baladi dress.
Belly dance is a lively form of Middle Eastern entertainment that appropriate for all types of events.
Belly dance is a family-friendly cultural art form- it is NOT stripping.
Dancers will approach the audience so they can better admire her costume and her movements.
Let the dancer know you are having fun, too! Smile, clap to the music, and join in the dancing!
Tipping is acceptable - you can tip the dancer on her arm band, her hip, or "shower" money her over her head.
Be respectful! Dancer spend years learning this art form so express your appreciation in appropriate ways.