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  1. #1
    Official BHUZzer Shajar's Avatar
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    Dancing for pay in Michigan?

    I have a free two months before moving out of Michigan and am considering trying to dance to get some extra cash and improve my stage skills. Would the best start be at a restaurant? How do I go about this? I've only danced at small haflas and given workshops at schools, so I'm new to this other side of the business.

    Does anyone know of restaurants/paid events I could try in the Detroit area? How does auditioning usually work? Would anyone hire me even if I don't have a website?

    Thanks!


  2. #2
    Master BHUZzer Souzan's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing for pay in Michigan?

    Quote Originally Posted by lallakahina View Post
    I have a free two months before moving out of Michigan and am considering trying to dance to get some extra cash and improve my stage skills. Would the best start be at a restaurant? How do I go about this? I've only danced at small haflas and given workshops at schools, so I'm new to this other side of the business.

    Does anyone know of restaurants/paid events I could try in the Detroit area? How does auditioning usually work? Would anyone hire me even if I don't have a website?

    Thanks!
    Have you talked with your instructor about professional possibilities? Perhaps she has contacts with dancers who book performers for local restaurants or parties. Or she does that herself. That seems to be a good way to start.

    You might look at some of the other posts here on Bhuz about starting a professional career. There have been many in different forums addressing setting up a business, costuming and makeup for professional gigis, avoiding undercutting, looking for jobs, dealing with Arabic male resturant owners and managers.

    Good luck.

    Souzan


  3. #3
    Official BHUZzer Shajar's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing for pay in Michigan?

    Thanks for the post. I'll flip through some of the other posts as you suggested. I was taking a class during the academic year but my teacher moved to CA, so I'm a bit on my own here. I guess starting up another class might be helpful for getting guidance on performing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Souzan View Post
    Have you talked with your instructor about professional possibilities? Perhaps she has contacts with dancers who book performers for local restaurants or parties. Or she does that herself. That seems to be a good way to start.

    You might look at some of the other posts here on Bhuz about starting a professional career. There have been many in different forums addressing setting up a business, costuming and makeup for professional gigis, avoiding undercutting, looking for jobs, dealing with Arabic male resturant owners and managers.

    Good luck.

    Souzan


  4. #4
    Master BHUZzer norma's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing for pay in Michigan?

    Most of the job opportunities in the Detroit area are with the ME population. Unfortunately there aren't many places still hiring dancers. Of the places that do hire they usually have a different dancer everyweek, so you would have to get in on the rotation. Most places don't audition anymore but give you a night and they either like you or they don't. Some places may want to meet you first in person to see if you have "the look". You had better be able to dance traditional raks sharqi, have several killer costumes and be able to improvise and do a 20-30 minute show. Glamour, glamour, glamour. That means big hair and shiny costumes. Most of the places are located in Dearborn. Adonis still has dancers. Not sure about Uncle Sam's. There's some coffee shops in the area as well. There is a Persian restaurant called Pars in Farmington Hills.

    Chaldean weddings often hire dancers. Sometimes you dance to live band sometimes you bring CD. Usually they hire the dancer for just the zeffee which means you'd be dancing to a live band.

    You can always do American house parties but they typically really on the internet to find a dancer. That will hard to get calls if you don't have a website or do some other sort of marketing.

    If you don't dance raks sharqi but are tribal, there are limited opportunites and you'd pretty much have to be creative and make up your own opportunities. I know in Ann Arbor there used to be a coffee shop called Oz that had dancers.

    My advice to you is to go to places where they have dancers and familiarize yourself with the format of the show first and the music they played and introduce yourself to the owners and ask to maybe get on the sublist.

    When working with a ME audience, you'll get only one oppportunity so make sure you're ready first.


  5. #5
    Advanced BHUZzer aamel_MirahAmmal's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing for pay in Michigan?

    I think the other ladies who posted gave you some great advice (esp. Norma--she knows the Detroit area well.) I just have one additional comment:

    It seems from your original post that you are getting ready to move away from Michigan in two months rather than looking to start a longer-term pro career in the area--is that correct?

    If so...I certainly don't want to be a nay-sayer, but...in my experience/observation, trying to use dance for short-term economic gain rarely works as well as people think it will. As many of these threads have discussed, it takes a lot of time, effort, marketing, initial financial outlay (costumes, music, supplies, transportation, materials, etc.) and more to really start making any money at this. If you're not already performing professionally and don't already have marketing and a network of potential gig opportunities and working dancers who may share opportunities with you, two months is an very short time frame to expect to get things going. Of course, take any appropriate paid opportunities that come your way in that time, but you might be better served by using this time to work on your dancing and researching the dance community in the area you're moving to (dance at any haflas etc. you can in the meantime to get more experience), and if finacial necessity dictates, also looking for other temporary/short term ways to make a little cash.
    Last edited by aamel_MirahAmmal; 06-24-2009 at 12:47 PM.


  6. #6
    Official BHUZzer Shajar's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing for pay in Michigan?

    I agree with you Aamel, I've also begun to realize that two months might be too short a time frame, unless I happen to hit the jackpot with a connection in Dearborn. Oz closed down a year ago or so, and I used to hear a lot about that place. Instead I'm trying to get together a monthly hafla and in the meantime rack in some money with a regular job. I agree my time might be best spent with trying to refine skills, repertoire, and experience before diving first thing into the business. Thank you ladies for the honest advice!


  7. #7
    Advanced BHUZzer aamel_MirahAmmal's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing for pay in Michigan?

    Say, where are you moving to? :-) Now might be a good time to put a shout-out here on bhuz (if you haven't already) to see if you can meet anyone or make any contacts in your new community. :-)


  8. #8
    Established BHUZzer nadira82's Avatar
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    Re: Dancing for pay in Michigan?

    I think Aamel has some good points about where to best place your energies right now.

    As a dancer who works throughout Southeast Michigan I would say that this is not the town in which to try out your professional chops for the first time, especially if your interests and style gravitate towards a more Andalusian folkloric thing (as you describe yourself on your profile). It takes time to get "in" with the scene here and as a general bit of advice, before you present yourself as professional, really make sure you are as good as you can be. If you are moving out of the area, use your time now to really study, practice, perform at halfa type events, and work on your look so that when you hit your new town you are more ready to present yourself as the up-and-coming professional you want to be!


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