How much do belly dancers make

Belly Dancer - Salary, How to Become, Job Description & Best Schools

How to Become a

The complete career guide to be a Belly Dancer: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

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  • 4.6%

    Job Growth Rate

  • Growing Demand

    Job Outlook

  • Creativity Focused

    Career Attribute

  • Flexible Hours

    Career Attribute

Belly dancers perform in shows and restaurants, and at events and private parties. They are experts in the art of Middle Eastern dance and can perform in both classical and modern styles. Professional belly dancers are also business people who market their talents to make money doing what they love.

What is a Belly Dancer?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in belly dancer roles:

  • Belly dance for crowds of people as part of event entertainment or formal productions
  • Perform both classical and modern belly dancing moves
  • Market dancing services in multiple ways to find new gigs and attract interest
  • Keep formal records of business activities, profits, and expenditures
  • Dance for long periods without becoming winded and while smiling

A Day in the Life

There are few employers who hire full-time belly dancers, so most professional belly dancers are self-employed. Because of this, aspiring belly dancers should be both proficient at dancing in Middle Eastern styles and educated on running a business. While professional belly dancers spend a lot of time practicing, performing, and teaching, they also spend a lot of time marketing their services, running their businesses, negotiating pay for gigs, and organizing business files and documentation.

Professional belly dancers earn money through a variety of ways. At times, they may perform in major venues as part of concerts and other formal productions. They may perform for celebrities, or secure roles dancing in movies or television shows. However, these opportunities are not always available, so professional belly dancers also secure smaller gigs performing in restaurants, for birthday parties, or for local events. Many professional belly dancers also teach belly dancing lessons to earn additional income.

Aside from running their business and performing, professional belly dancers spend a lot of their time practicing. To stay competitive, they need to stay in shape, be able to perform a variety of styles, and execute routines perfectly. When performing, belly dancers are required to dance for long periods of time without getting winded and while maintaining a smile. The best belly dancers spend a significant amount of time practicing in order to perfect their craft.

Typical Work Schedule

Most professional belly dancers set their own hours and can choose when they want to work. They can work either part- or full-time and may be required to work any number of shifts—during the day, in the evening, or on weekends.

Typical Employers

Most belly dancers are self-employed. They run their own businesses and take on clients to earn money from performances. Some may also own dance studios and offer belly dancing or fitness classes.

How To Become a Belly Dancer

No formal higher education is required to become a belly dancer. Many professional belly dancers train in small dance studios or under the guidance of a mentor. While some start dancing at a young age, many others pick the style up as adults and practice, train, and perform for years before becoming successful. Others train in the Middle East in order to learn the style directly from the source.

While excelling as a belly dancer may be more about talent, practice, and dedication, excelling as a professional belly dancer has a lot more to do with your business acumen than your dancing abilities. For this reason, many professional belly dancers find that they benefit from pursuing college degrees that offer business and marketing courses. Some pursue bachelor’s degree in dance, theater, or fine arts and take business and marketing classes on the side, while others pursue associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in business and/or marketing.

An education in business and marketing can help professional belly dancers achieve more success in their careers because it teaches them how to run a business, how to maintain the proper documentation, and how to market their services to increase engagements. This knowledge can be critical if you plan to manage your own belly dancing business or own/operate a belly dancing studio.

Belly Dancer Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range


High Range

National Hourly Wage

Low Range


High Range

How do Belly Dancer salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Belly Dancer's can make an average annual salary of ---, or $18 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make --- or $9 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

Highest Education Among Belly Dancers

  • 0.5%   Doctorate
  • 4.3%   Masters
  • 17%   Bachelors
  • 10.6%   Associates
  • 29%   College
  • 26.7%   High School
  • 11.9%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

2024 Est. Jobs

Job Growth Rate
4. 6%

Est. New Jobs

How does Belly Dancer job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 600 jobs for a total of 13,600 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 4.6% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

What Companies Employ The Most Belly Dancers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 2,000 100 0%
Drinking places (alcoholic beverages) 1,700 --- ---
Other schools and instruction; private 900 200 0%

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How Much Salary Does a Belly Dancer Make?

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Michael Batton Kaput

Updated September 26, 2017

Belly dancing is a time-honored art form that originated in the Middle East, predominantly performed by women. For those with an interest in this dynamic dance discipline, it's not just about learning the right moves. Those who want to make careers as belly dancers need to understand what rates they can charge, what considerations affect their pay and what sorts of incidental costs are required to stay on top of the art form's latest developments.

Average Pay

The rates belly dancers can charge clients vary dramatically. Fleur Estelle, a London-based professional belly dancer, told The Independent that beginning belly dancers can earn $160 or more at an event in London. Professionals with years of experience can charge hundreds of dollars for an event. The Independent also reported Ms. Estelle saying that dancers can typically earn $40 to $80 teaching an hour-long class at a gym, or $48 to $130 in a night dancing at a restaurant, not including tips.

Pay Considerations

While the above prices are industry insider estimates, the salary a belly dancer takes home can vary dramatically based on several factors. Belly dancers often charge clients a flat rate for a performance, then tack on fees for costumes, props and travel expenses. Belly dancers with a background in dance can also command higher rates (based on higher-quality performances) than amateurs who belly dance in their free time or have little experience in the industry.

Other Salary Concerns

Performing at events are not the only ways in which belly dancers can make money. Dancers can also earn a lucrative living performing at restaurants or teaching classes. Performing at restaurants typically earns belly dancers a flat rate, plus tips from diners. Classes, on the other hand, may pay less, but don't require the investment required to create a routine from scratch, purchase costumes and buy props.


While belly dancers may often charge clients to compensate for travel, keeping abreast of developments in the art form may require a more significant investment. Ms. Estelle tells The Independent that she travels to Cairo, Egypt twice a year to study the techniques of other professional belly dancers and to buy authentic costumes. Research trips like these, as well as classes to hone your skills, are additional expenses that may, in the short term, drain a belly dancer's finances, but produce long-term financial rewards as they can lead to being able to charge higher rates for a performances.


  • Atlanta Belly Dance: Do and Don'ts

Writer Bio

Michael Batton Kaput began writing professionally in 2009. He is an editor at two magazines and a freelance writer. He has been published in "Egypt Today," Egypt's leading current affairs magazine, and "Business Today Egypt," Egypt's number one English-language business magazine. He attended Denison University where he earned a degree in political science and English literature.

Russian dancer in Egypt - DW - 01/09/2020

Photo: Instagram/joharabellydancer


Emily Gordini | Jennifer Pahlke | Ella Volodina

January 9, 2020

Russian belly dancers are incredibly popular in Egypt. The most famous of them is Ekaterina Andreeva.


Dzhokhara (in Arabic - "pearl") is one of the most popular dancers in Cairo. She has a million followers on Instagram and tons of bookings to perform at clubs and restaurants, at parties and weddings. Johara, 31, specializes in belly dancing. In one of her latest videos, she dances in a figure-hugging outfit: a silk bra embellished with rhinestones, a skirt with a slit that reveals her long legs. With fast movements, the jewelry jingles to the beat of the music. She is surrounded by a crowd, all eyes are fixed on her...

Russian Ekaterina Andreeva performs under the pseudonym "Dzhokhara". For several years she has been living and working in Cairo, the birthplace of belly dance. How did a Russian woman get to the East? And why is she such a big hit in Cairo?

Where does love for belly dancing come from in Russia? At the age of 13, she "lost" her partner, a typical problem in Russia, Ekaterina says. There are few dancing guys, not enough for everyone, they are often lured by competitors. But, looking back, we can say that it was a happy coincidence. Because, left without a partner, the girl realized that you can successfully dance alone, if the dance style allows it.

Egypt is the Russian woman's new homeland Photo: Instagram/joharabellydancer

Shown in Russia in 2001, the Brazilian series "Clone" made belly dancing popular among Russian women (it was effectively performed by the main character in the series). Ekaterina recalls how suddenly courses began to appear everywhere - even in fitness centers. In one such center, she first got acquainted with this dance. It was just right, because a partner was not needed.

At first, Ekaterina danced only in her father's restaurant. Having learned the basics of technique in the courses, then she improves her dance on her own. And with success: Ekaterina wins several champion titles and opens her own belly dance studio in Moscow. At the same time, Ekaterina is studying and receiving two university degrees in Moscow: in the field of PR management and as a translator from Russian into English. At the same time, she knows: "Dancing is my life."

In Russia, belly dancing is a business where you can make money. The fact that it is also art, few among her compatriots were interested, the dancer recalls. In Egypt, everything is different: there, belly dancing is an art and an important part of culture. Therefore, Catherine leaves to make a dancing career in the Egyptian capital.

"Russification" of Egyptian dances is undesirable

Russian belly dance in Cairo is now a trend, not an isolated case. Cairo was at all times the Mecca of oriental dance: many great dancers studied and danced here. It is said that even former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger could not resist their charms and that Nagwa Fuad was his favorite dancer. Brilliant stars of bellydance (or bellydance) are such legendary Egyptian dancers as Dina Talaat Sayyed Muhammad and Fifi Abdu. But foreign dancers are also in demand. First of all, the Russians. Why?

Nagwa Fuad, Henry Kissinger's favorite dancer Photo: picture-alliance/United Archives

"The older generation of Egyptian dancers is getting older," says Hani Rasem, a wedding planner in Cairo who regularly uses Catherine and other foreign dancers. ". Therefore, foreigners successfully fill this niche. There are days when Catherine dances at five different weddings. Often the public does not even understand that she is Russian, the girl says. "We do not experiment, because this is not our culture," says Ekaterina about herself and her colleagues. For her, it is important that the dance retains its traditional form and does not change in any way. There is nothing Russian in Catherine's dance style.

Belly dancing is a tradition with double standards

There is another reason why Egyptian girls don't want to learn belly dancing. Like many other Arab countries, Egypt has become noticeably more conservative in recent decades. Without belly dancing in Egypt, it is difficult to imagine a wedding, but in everyday life, many Egyptians prefer not to have contacts with representatives of this profession. However, Yekaterina says, her Russian origin protects her from negative stigma: "I get more respect because I'm a foreigner. They only see me as an artist."

Ekaterina Andreeva turned a hobby into a profession Photo: Facebook/johara belly dancer الراقصة جوهرة

However, dealing with the authorities and their regulatory requirements is not always pleasant. A Russian woman must have a work permit for every wedding, which is very expensive: it costs about 1,230 euros in equivalent. Many wealthy Egyptians are willing to pay for this, in addition to the fee.

In part, Catherine became famous thanks to a short stay in an Egyptian prison in 2018. She was imprisoned for a too defiant dance in too revealing clothes. The Egyptian media reported on the incident in detail, and a video of a dancer in a controversial outfit attracted the attention of millions of viewers in a short time. Three days after her arrest, Catherine gained not only freedom, but also fame. The charge was dropped. She put on her dazzling outfit again after a while. Ekaterina continues to perform in it - successfully and without problems. Apparently, there are no legal norms for belly dancing clothes yet...

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Jobs for dancers in Turkey | EGO agency

EGO recommends

No other country in the world has as many Slavic dancers as Turkey. Turkey has been consistently popular with girls for many years. Judge for yourself:

  • No risk. Official registration at the state level, medical insurance, social guarantees.
  • Knowledge of languages ​​is not required. Turkey is one of the few countries that does not require language skills to work. Every third resident speaks Russian, and Turkish learns very easily and in a short time.
  • No need to undress. There are no VIP rooms, privates, outs, striptease and so on in Turkey. Everything is more than decent and cultural. Dancers in Turkey perform in beautiful costumes without being naked.
  • Stability. In Turkey, the system works and does not change for years. The girls return here as if they were at home, having worked and lived in two countries for many years. You can't find a more grateful audience than the Turks. Only they express sincere crazy delight from the dancer, even if she dances at an amateur level.

All this makes Turkey an ideal country for the first contract. According to individual agreements with employers, EGO agency managers are authorized to independently decide who to hire. To do this, there is no need to contact the clubs, which significantly reduces the time of employment. The agency provides work for dancers of Go Go, Pole Dance, Belly and other styles.

Exlusive from EGO agency: the contract term in Turkish clubs for dancers is 3 months instead of 6 months.

Turkey is a close and understandable country. The girls have been working in it for more than a decade. Therefore, there is a lot of information about Turkish contracts. There are pluses here, there are also minuses. It has its own unique features and pitfalls. To have a complete picture of what it is to work in Turkey, CLICK ON THE BUTTON ↘️


Requirements and responsibilities for dancers in Turkey

Basic requirements:

  • Age from 19 to 28 years old
  • The ability to dance in some style (or impressive improvised)
  • well-groomed appearance
  • Lack of excess weight
  • Availability of own stage costumes in quantity from 3 pieces. Bodysuits or swimsuits are suitable for Go-Go

Main duties:

  • For Go Go dancers - improvisation on stage or tablets with handrails (depending on the club) from 2 to 4 appearances per shift
  • For other styles - performance on stage 1-3 numbers per shift
  • During free time all artists are in the hall and work on consummation


Dancers in Turkey receive an official invitation from the employer. This provides absolutely legal employment for girls. They receive a work permit from the migration service. In addition, the agency provides a guarantee of safety for dancers in Turkey.

The term of work for Dancers in Turkey is from 3 months.

Employed dancers with a work visa and medical insurance. A visa is issued in the country of the girl. This process takes two to four weeks. The agency fully takes care of all the hassle of obtaining a visa and the necessary paperwork for it.

Under this contract, the agency can provide credit for the main part of the costs - visas and tickets. More detailed information about loans and how much a work visa costs is detailed on this page in the section “Investments in a contract”

Upon arrival in the country, the dancers are greeted by a free transfer from the club. This transfer takes the girls from the airport to the hotel.


On the second day after settling in Turkey, dancers undergo a mandatory procedure - passing medical tests and obtaining a Policy card. Such a card is proof that the girl is in Turkey legally. The policy must always be carried with you.

Dancers in Turkey are provided with accommodation - a hotel room for 2-3 girls. The rooms are equipped with everything you need: furniture, shower, toilet, internet, and even bed linen. Only girls working in the club live in the hotel.

Absolutely in every Turkish institution, dancers have certain expenses. On average, this is 200 - 350 $ per month. This includes payment for the hotel, transfer and dressing room.

Dancers are provided with free 2 meals a day (before work and after work).

Each dancer may, by agreement with the employer, take days off at her own expense. The contract does not provide for a single general day off.

On Sunday in Turkish institutions, cigort. This is the day when girls receive increased interest for consummation instead of a bet.

The working hours of the dancers are from 22:00 to 6:00 in the morning.

Club transfer takes the girls from the hotel to the club and back.

In the morning (at the end of the work shift) all the girls have breakfast, and then they are taken to the hotel to rest until 12:00. From 12:00 free time.