So every now and then on Facebook, I’ll see a dancer post a thank you note to so-and-so from such-and-such state for hosting them for a workshop and/or performance. A couple weeks ago it occurred to me that I didn’t really know what hosting a guest artist fully entailed, so I’ve been asking around, and here’s what I’ve discovered.
- Hosts are fully or at least partially responsible for the guest artist’s transportation.
- Hosts are fully responsible for the guest artist’s lodgings sometimes resulting in the host putting up their guest in their own home.
- Hosts are responsible for booking the workshop, finding an appropriate venue in which to hold the workshop, and promoting the workshop in the local bellydance community.
- The dancer and host usually split the profits from the workshop.
- If there is a performance following a workshop, the guest artist is fully paid for his or her work.
- All of the above are generally laid down in a formal contract so both sides are fully aware of what to expect and to eliminate the chances of any nasty surprises.
As you can see, this format puts the financial burden entirely on the host so that the dancer faces minimal financial risk. However, this can potentially mean that the guest artist isn’t earning very much money for a substantial chunk of time and effort. But then again, this seems like an ideal way to travel and get to know people in diverse bellydance communities. Generally, I’ve seen that bellydancers and hosts tend to become good friends and those kinds of connections are invaluable in our tiny community.
As I continued to ponder this arrangement, it also occurred to me that if bellydancers never take on the financial risk of traveling and hosting their own workshops, they may never get to do much traveling at all. It seems to me that a fully hosted workshop weekend is not something one comes by easily. More likely, they are few and far between.
So what do you all think? If you were a well-known bellydancer (let’s say you’d taught at Tribal Fest but aren’t a name brand bellydancer like Zoe Jakes or Rachel Brice just yet), do you think it would be financially responsible to host a workshop in a major city where you might sell out but you also might not? Is traveling via hosts really the best option?