Here in the U.S. providing belly dance entertainment for parties and weddings is a weekly venture I know like the back of my hand.
My regular U.S. contract is short, to the point, and my clientele know the customary actions and share the same expectations. My international contract is quite a different story as time change and cultural differences make things a bit more complicated.
Last year though when my friend and I were hired to perform belly dance entertainment internationally for the first time at a lavish corporate, we had quite the learning experience (thank you for opening the door for us Hindy).
This year we were asked back to another glamorous party internationally and learned a couple more things so I thought I would share some good tips for those of you who are, or may one day go through this process, and want a couple less headaches
1. Make sure your international contract is VERY detailed as to who, what, where and how’s for every action.
There should be terms for accommodations, food, transport (we had to have a taxi and then boat rides to reach our destination which is not usual in the U.S), food vouchers, airfare, customs, taxes, deposit and payment terms before and after the event, and etc..
2. Request detailed information on who will be in charge of each of the above.
Ideally you want all payment except for performance fee to be paid in advance. Transport will usually be several companies, so you will need the information on what car/boat, color/company to look for upon arrival and return and that person direct number, or contact who booked the service.
You also want to get all your math in order BEFORE you go. Make sure flight fare changes are expressed should the client take a bit to send deposit, put due dates by everything, and stick to your guns always.
3. Ensure your contract includes clauses that protect you should nature, natural disaster, performance time gets pushed back, or payment is late.
Some cultures are more “go with the flow” and if you dont specifically say payment should be made at to and so time “or else $$” they will take their sweet time which is a no-no in my ocd book.
4. Make sure you passport is up to date, you pack what you need, and can be efficient no matter where you may be. At times you may arrive and sleep in one hotel, and the next day be boated or flown to a secluded island where party will be, and the next day be at another hotel.
Always be able to have all you need packed in one bag.
5. Traveling with shamadans, fire props, swords is….fun. Always call the airline and see their specs on how to pack your props and get any stickers or waivers signed. Bubble wrap and a fitted box will be your sword best friend for example.
Belly dancing at corporate events internationally for millionaires has been quite glamorous but the preparation and curve balls that come with a totally different country’s customs and business culture is often not, so be prepared.
Have a sound contract, contact other dancers who travel to belly dance internationally at functions for helpful tips and always be business savvy and alert.
Hope this advice helped a bit and comment below if you are curious on anything. It has been awesome being able to entertain for corporate events with belly dancing internationally, and even with all this preparation there will still be unforeseen surprises, so be ready!