I am writing to you today as here in the state of Florida the curfew has been lifted and we are now in the midst of Phase II of the 3-part re-opening plan. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, worried and a bit excited all wrapped up in one. For the past few months, working belly dancers such as myself have been literally “gig-less”. I have had 3 months now to think long and hard about what COVID and re-opening will look like for my business and what I know in my heart will make me feel more comfortable should I perform at private parties in Orlando in the near future. Today I would like to share a few thoughts to get a conversation going on ideas for how you can remain safe IF you decide that you are ready to begin performing again during phase II and beyond.
While I know many a belly dancer will have opinions on whether or not to perform at this time, I understand that many of my readers are in different financial and emotional phases of their lives. So, I ask that you read on with an open mind and again, the point of this blog it to provide methods in which our community of working belly dancers can remain safe should they decide or even be in a situation where they MUST gig during COVID.
Set Your Guidelines and Standards in Writing Now
What do I mean by this? Quite simply, you need to update your written materials used during the booking process to clearly explain what you expect, and need, to make a performance happen during this unique time.
Your contract and/or your website should be updated with new terms that make you feel safe, such as (and these are only a few examples):
- requiring the client to greet you with a mask and vice versa upon arrival
- making balance payments occur upon arrival and electronically before you perform
- the dance area must now be photographed and sent upon contract signing to ensure you are comfortable with the layout and space in which you will be performing, vs. where the guests will be. I recommend that dancers speak to their clients about how much space they require to be apart from audience members and get a clear picture of where the audience members will be. Suggest changes to the client should it not be in a layout/configuration that makes you feel comfortable
- Pictures with you (the performer) afterwards may no longer be a part of your contract, so that will need to be updated
- Music may now HAVE to be sent electronically to the client or dj, and they MUST have it ready to play and etc. from their own device prior to your arrival. You may need to do a “playlist check” with the client (for those without a dj) a couple of days before the event to ensure that they have your music in the order specified
- You may now only allow outdoor shows and not indoor ones due to special concerns so that you are not too close to audience members
- Tips in the form of a money shower or body tipping may not be allowed by you during this time if you do not want to be in close proximity with others while performing. An idea to consider if this is you, is asking your host to have guests place their tips in an envelope, or place a button for tipping electronically on your website, so your client can send a tip electronically after the show
- If you are performing for a bachelorette party or other type of celebration that involves a lesson where you once used to allow guests to borrow hipscarves, you may now have to consider giving the option to your client and attendees to bring their own hip adornment or to have guests purchase your hipscarves as once on their bodies, for health safety concerns, you may decide you do not want to take them back like you once did
These are just a few ideas on how to tweak your booking materials such as contracts, websites, etc. if you are concerned like many of us out there about how to get back to gigging yet still protect yourself as much as you can as the global pandemic is still in full effect.
Share Your Thoughts!
What advice do you have for other belly dancers who may gig soon and what tips can they incorporate to keep them safe during shows? I would love to hear it! Share this post with your dance community and let’s get the conversation going about how to keep each other safe and comfortable as we navigate how to go back to performing at private events.