Q & A

Questions and Answers about Belly Dance performances

A professional belly dancing show is elegant and vibrant. If you have never seen great belly dancers before, prepare to be captivated by the grace of the dance form, impressed by the control and intricacy of the movements, and swept away by the beauty of the costuming. It’s fun and family-friendly.

Even if you are Middle Eastern and accustomed to dancing at family events, a professional bellydancer will bring an extra level of sophistication and can probably add many more moves to your repertoire!

Weddings, parties, anything?

Pretty much! A Belly Dancing performance is the perfect entertainment to add sparkle to almost any occasion*:

*An exception: Like most belly dancers, Rachel is NOT available under any circumstances to perform at bucks’ nights or any other all-male event. Performances at male 18th and 21st birthday parties are possible only if a family atmosphere is guaranteed.

Can it be a surprise?

Certainly! Engaging a dancer is always an unexpected and much appreciated surprise at a party. You can make the show your gift to the lucky couple, birthday boy/girl, or bride-to-be. Just make sure that you tell us it’s a surprise, give us a contact phone number, and find out about the venue in advance.

Who is the belly dancer?

If you book Rachel, that’s who will perform for you. Unlike some websites you might find, Rachel does not take bookings and then send out students or cheap amateur dancers to perform. Make sure you check this if you enquire elsewhere. We believe that when you’re spending good money, you deserve to know you’re getting a good dancer!

If at the time of booking Rachel is not available, she will talk to you about arranging another belly dancer of a similarly professional standard.

And if you’re booking a duet or group, you can trust Rachel to ensure all the belly dancers she works with are skilled and experienced performers who will collaborate to make your event a great success.

This is a big function, so I need more than one dancer.

Looking for a stunning and skilful duet, trio or even larger group? We can arrange for a big stage show with some of Sydney’s other finest belly dancers. Rachel works regularly with a hand-picked group of experienced bellydancers who look amazing together and will truly impress your guests.

Other performers that we work with can include tarot readers, stilt walkers, fire twirling/eating, comic and childrens’ shows, professional MCs, circus acts, and more. Just ask! Contact Rachel to discuss your needs.

Can you offer live music?

Of course. Live music brings a level of excitement to the show that just can’t be matched by recorded music alone – plus, it’s how bellydance is meant to be done! Rachel has performed many times with Sydney’s top Arabic percussionist and band. Check out the videos here.

Depending on your budget, you could just have a drummer to accompany the recorded music; or a band of 2, 3, 4 or even more members! Choose from traditional instruments such as darabuka (tabla), tubbel, riqq, violin, qanun, oud; or a “one man band”. The drummer and other band members are accomplished musicians who will add even more colour and authenticity to your night. They can wear modern or traditional Arabic clothing.

What does it cost?

We can’t give a quote until we know the details of your event, but most shows are between $250-$350. Performance fees depend on the timing, location and the length of the show, as well as which props are used. Bear in mind that our bellydance performances use professional quality costuming and music, as well as reflecting several years of experience and dedicated training, international study and research trips, insurance and licensing, and so on. While you may find cheaper dancers, they will not be as professional and experienced. Don’t risk being embarrassed by a novice. It’s worth paying a little extra to be confident of a high quality show that will impress your family and friends.

A deposit of at least $50 is required to confirm your booking, and the remainder may be paid at the time of the performance – or do it all at once to save hassle on the night. We accept cash, PayPal, credit card over the phone (processed via PayPal) and direct deposit. Please note that personal cheques are not accepted unless provided at least one week in advance.

Contact us to discuss your requirements and obtain a quote.

Can I have a discount?

Generally: no! Dance is Rachel’s profession and full-time job, and her pricing reflects the quality of the show. Rachel has dedicated many years to learning this art form, and invested countless thousands of dollars into study and training here and overseas, as well as quality costuming and music, insurance and licensing, and so on. Not to mention the preparation time, hair and makeup, travel times and costs, etc, that go into your specific event. So please consider these factors and don’t ask for a discount.

However, if your budget is more limited, consider being more flexible with timing. We sometimes are able to offer “peak” and “off-peak” rates. If you can arrange the performance around Rachel’s regular restaurant bookings or other engagements, it will be cheaper than if she needs to cancel them.

What about tipping?

It is traditional, but optional, for audience members to show their appreciation by offer tips during the performance. Tips may be placed in the dancer’s hand or arm bands. While tips are appreciated, of course they are never obligatory!

How can I make it even more amazing?

Rachel’s dancing is amazing in itself. But from years of experience, we have some tips to help your guests appreciate it fully:

  • Timing. Make sure the guests have arrived, chatted, and at least had a nibble or something to drink before the show. If you want them to really enjoy and participate in the performance, there should be no food served or on the tables while the show is on. Ask any waitstaff to stop serving during the show.
  • Space and lighting. We will make the most of whatever space you have available, but having a dance floor will make it more effective. It gives everyone a better view, plus allows the dancer to use more dynamic moves and props. Also, check that there are no low hanging fixtures or decorations. It’s also useful to adjust the lighting so that the dance floor is well lit, but the area where guests are seated is relatively dark – just like in a theatre. Rachel is able to bring a spotlight to help add to the atmosphere.
  • Where are your guests? It’s always best if they are seated, that way everybody can see. Plus, guests need their hands free to join in the clapping. Make sure they are not holding bags, phones, food or drinks.
  • Sound quality. The importance of good, loud sound can’t be overstated. If the music is not loud enough, it doesn’t matter how good the dancing is; it just won’t be as powerful and attention-grabbing.
  • Phones away. Guests will enjoy the performance much more if they watch with their eyes, rather than from behind a screen. You can designate a photographer so that you have a record of this special event, but ask everyone else not to take photos or video and instead to be present and enjoy the show.

How long is the show?

Typically a show lasts for around 20 minutes. We can make arrangements for a longer or shorter performance if you require. Lessons are usually 45 to 60 minutes in length.

Is it suitable for families?

Yes! Quality bellydancers perform in a way that is appropriate for all ages. Children love to watch and often want to have a dance too. For children’s parties, consider a lesson as well as or instead of just a performance – kids love to interact and learn something new!

Does the audience / bridal couple / birthday boy/girl join in?

Usually the first and last songs are showpieces for the dancer to perform solo; after that, she will invite the guest(s) of honour to dance if they wish, followed by other guests. Don’t forget that Rachel is a teacher as well as a performer, so she’ll make sure you learn a move or two! Of course there is no need to get up and dance if you don’t feel comfortable. As a professional performer, she is careful to abide by the client’s or audience’s requests for the show – the dancer is there to entertain and educate, not to embarrass. All we ask is that you show respect for the dancer, the dance, and the culture from which it comes.

What do the costumes look like?

In a word: STUNNING! Just take a look at Rachel’s Gallery page to see some examples from her wardrobe over 2 dozen professional costumes from a range of Egyptian designers including Eman Zaki, Amira el Kattan (Pharaonics of Egypt), Sahar, Hanan and Aida Nour, there’s a stunning variety. All are stylish, tasteful, and elaborately decorated with diamantes and beadwork. There is something to suit every occasion: modern or old-fashioned, romantic or funky – even pants sets! – and also a selection of full dresses for more conservative audiences. Rachel has something in almost every colour, and is happy to match your favourite colour or the colour theme of your decorations, bridesmaids’ dresses, etc. Many of the costumes haven’t been photographed, so there are lots of choices beyond what you see on this website. Let’s chat and see what’s best for you!

What about music?

Generally, the show will include a mix of music: classical Egyptian orchestral music written specifically for bellydance, Arabic (or Turkish, Greek, Assyrian, Indian etc) pop songs and a percussion piece. Let us know any specific requests: your favourite singers or songs can sometimes be accommodated, with enough notice. The dancer will bring her music pre-mixed music on CD and/or Ipod.

It’s crucial that you provide a good, loud sound system (CD player or ipod connection plus amplifier and speakers). Good quality and loud sound it vital to create energy in the performance space: the performance simply won’t seem as good if the sound quality isn’t right. If you have nothing suitable, let us know: we can arrange to hire a sound system for you.

What information does the dancer need to know?

Obviously we need to know the time, date and venue of the performance, and the type of event. If it is for a birthday, wedding or similar, we need to know who the “guest of honour” is, whether it is a surprise, and whether or not they wish to be asked to dance. It’s important for you to provide all your contact details in case of any problems. By the time that you confirm, you should find out the following things about the performance space:

  • Is it a function centre, a restaurant, a private house? Is it indoors or outdoors, and what is the floor surface?
  • How large is the space? Is there a stage / dance floor?
  • Where can we park?
  • Who is the contact person?
  • What sort of sound system will be available? Have you checked that it’s loud enough? Does it take CDs or iPod?
  • Are you able to adjust the lights to make the most of the show? Should we bring a spotlight to help?
  • Do you have any specific costuming requests?
  • Do you want any particular (style of) music?

It also helps us to know something about the audience and their cultural background: for instance, are they Aussies? Lebanese? Syrian? Turkish? Greek? Indian? etc. This enables us to choose the most appropriate music and costume.

What are the dancer’s and client’s obligations?

Let’s start with answering the questions above, well before the show, so it can be planned. At least two contact names and numbers should be arranged in advance.

On the day, the client needs to provide a changeroom that is clean, safe and secure. As the host, you are obliged to ensure that the belly dancer is treated with respect; if she is made to feel uncomfortable, we reserve the right to discontinue a performance. We also ask you to understand that although every effort is made to arrive at the scheduled time, we often perform several shows in an evening. Delays can occur due to traffic, or if a previous customer ran late. You are asked to respect other bookings by ensuring that you are ready for my performance at the agreed time. If you run late, we may have to cut the show short, especially if other clients are waiting. Full payment will still be required.

Naturally, the belly dancer will provide her own costume, props and music on CD / iPod (unless you have arranged a live Arabic band). Under the very rare circumstances that Rachel can’t do the performance herself (for instance, due to illness or injury), we will arrange for a replacement and will contact you to inform you of the change.

I want to learn. Do you offer classes?

Yes! Rachel runs one of Sydney’s biggest bellydance schools, Inspire Bellydance, with venues on the north shore, inner west, southern and eastern suburbs. She also teaches Zumba Fitness. All the details are on the Inspire Bellydance website.

Any more questions?

Just give Rachel a call on 0403 771134 and she’ll be happy to help! Or you can email. Please note that outside of business hours, you will receive a faster response by telephone.

Read what more customers say about Rachel’s performances.