The goal of this article is simply share some thoughts on one aspect of a career as bellydancer. Most professional dancers probably have a manager so this article will not contain really new insights but I hope for the others it will be a source of information when they once take the step of getting a personal manager.
Managers in the entertainment business have a doubtful reputation. In some cases rightfully in most other cases not. Of course - a wicked manager is likely to receive extensive press coverage from the tabloids. Remember that bad publicity remains publicity 'tout court'. As now rock-managers start to invest in belly dance and we see the results it becomes clear that management is sometimes the missing link in an artist's career.
Remember Sol Bloom (1870-1939) the promotor/manager(?) of "Little Egypt" in 1889. Superintendent of the Midway Plaisance at the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893. The success of "Little Egypt" marked the beginning of American Belly dance which leaded to a particular American style called ATS or American Tribal Style. And there the cirle is closed. Former "Police" manager Miles Copeland discovers the entertaining value of ATS and sets up a worldwide tour and the rest is history.
A good personal bellydance manager does the driving, takes care for the money collection, coordinates the show, fixes the music, does the bookings, makes up the contracts and invoices, does the promotion, evaluates the show and inspires above all.
And the list is not limited. It gives the dancer the opportunity to fully concentrate on the show and give an optimal performance, not hindered by problems like wrong music choice, no drink in the dressing room, waiting for the pay. The manager gives priority to quality. Management is not only taking care that the artist makes as much money as possible but also that the artist receives the respect she deserves. And that's why the manager is a filter between potential customers and artists. An important tool is the contract between artist and organizer.
Another task is opening new markets for belly dance. When I started to do belly dance management 21 years ago, I visited and contacted restaurants. Soon turned to other potential customers and after a few years oriental dancing in restaurants for small fees was history. Of course had to start a legal business organization, do the bookkeeping and financial management. Not much accountants understood this type of business so I had to follow additional education in tax-laws and so on.
A bellydancer is an enterprize. It can be a small enterprize or become a multinational like the Bellydance Superstars