How To Tip a Bellydancer

I get a lot of questions about tips. Do I accept them? How do I accept them? Is it even okay?

All bellydancers have a personal preference about tips. Some accept them, some don't. The most important thing as an audience member is tipping etiquette.

There are some places that it is unacceptable to tip, such as a wedding where the dancer is being paid by a private party. Other places, like restaurants, the dancer may get her primary earnings through tips. Rule of thumb, if you are tipping other people at the event (like a waitress) it's okay to tip the dancer.

So how is it done?

Some dancers bring a tip basket, it will be located at the edge of the stage, near her music, by the register, or she may dance with it at some point toward the end of her set.

In a restaurant setting you may also leave a tip with your waitress when you pay the bill for the dancer to collect at the end of the night. Be sure you specify which tip is for the waitress and which tip is for the dancer(s).

A few dancers will accept a tip on their person. If you're not sure, ask. If she nods, you may hold out your tip, and she will show you where you are allowed to put it. It may be acceptable to put it in the side of her hip belt, or she will show you her purse, she may simply take it from your hand, or if she is a gypsy she may have you put it in her boot. The dancer will then spend a little extra time at your table or show you her favorite move as a thank you. No bellydancer will ever accept a tip in her top.

The most common way of tipping in Middle Eastern cultures is to give the dancer(s) a "money shower" where you toss a stack of bills into the air above her head or you may toss them onto the stage. The dancer will have an assistant pick them up after her set.

It is by no means required to tip the dancer(s), its just simply a way of letting them know you think they are doing a great job and you appreciate them. Other ways to let them know you enjoy them is to clap to their music or cheer and make lots of noise when you see a move you like. Belly dancers feed on the audience's energy and we want to know that we are entertaining you.