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February 28, 2012

How to Tip a Belly Dancer

How to Tip a Belly Dancer

The topic of How to Tip a Belly Dancer is one I decided to devote an entire blog article on because of all the misconceptions and varying answers associated with this practice. I am one of the most strict dancers I know when it comes to my policy on how to accept tips, but before I explain my method, it is important to share a little cultural insight. You see, in the middle east it is customary to tip your belly dancer for putting on a spectacular show. Often times the money is given to her in a couple of ways:

  1. By placing it directly into her costume/ accessories
  1. Throwing it over her dance area or above her head in a money shower

Unfortunately  the extent to which a dancer allows her clients to place tips on her costume has different interpretations. I rather not go into detail but with some “belly dancers” it can get darn right raunchy! The good news is that these are almost always not professionals. The majority of real professional belly dancers will allow body tipping only in the form of bills being tucked into the sides of their belt or into their accessories. Bra tipping is still used by some (it is up to the dancer) but I am strictly against it personally.

Problems with some “tipping practices”…

Opposed to the norm, I only allow tipping in my hand or in a money shower. Clients have often asked me why “said belly dancer over at another restaurant” allows them to tip her in the bra and I don’t, and the answer is simple….we are not in the middle east. While I see nothing wrong with the practice of generous clients body tipping a dancer, I am here in a country where it is not part of the regular custom or culture to have a belly dancer. While belly dance has been highly embraced here, I find that many times clients base their tipping perceptions off of movies, t.v. and other often inaccurate and misconstrued representations in How to Tip a Belly Dancer.

I do not want anyone to touch me in any inappropriate area, and I find that working in Orlando (Florida in general) with a myriad of cultures and customs, the best way to prevent those situations in general is to just not allow body tipping. For that reason, I will happily accept your tip by hand only or as a money shower. In very rare occasions if the guest is quite elderly or under the age of 5 I will allow them to place their tip in my armband.

While some of my clients are middle eastern, they too must uphold my standard even though it is part of their culture to have a belly dancer. While it can be a bit disappointing for them at first, they soon see that it is still fun to tip me by hand or in a money shower. It is just a simple sign of respect that I maintain. I do want to not offend any of my clients from varying parts of the world so strict adherence to this is appreciated. About 99% of my clients and their guests display appropriate behavior but that 1% is enough to make me always be wary of my space and safety.

How Not to Tip Jennifer

A great spin-off to this post (and based upon actual accounts mind you), is for me to explain a few ways NOT to Tip a Belly Dancer. It is rare when these happen but if I even hear these requests I simply will walk away or have someone escort the person out of the establishment. Plain and simple. So here it goes:

1) Placing the bill in your mouth and asking me to grab it out using my mouth!
2) Placing a sweaty bill on my forehead
3) Sneaking up behind me and trying to place a bill on the back of my belt or costume bra
4) Acting like your about to hand me a bill and then pulling it away as I reach my hand
5) Deliberately placing the bills on the floor and expecting me to go pick it up

If you have any further questions on the topic of How to Tip a Belly Dancer, simply contact me, and I would be happy to answer your questions.

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