How to Become a

Belly Dancer

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

Why We Love It

  • 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

  • #815 Nationally for All Careers

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


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

  • #456 Nationally for All Careers

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%

Want To Be a Belly Dancer? Get Started!

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify colleges you like, and potential ways to save on a degree or certification program toward your career with courses, offers, and much more!

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →