Belly Dance at A Wedding?!
Belly dance is a very fun and engaging entertainment option for a wedding celebration. In many Middle-Eastern countries it is an important part of wedding tradition to have a dancer. It is believed to bring good luck and happiness! Besides the cultural tradition, belly dance is a very popular choice for wedding entertainment all around the world! Whether you are Egyptian or Canadian, enchanting music, mesmerizing costumes and intricate movements will leave you and your guests wowed, and with great memories about such special day!
Iana is one of the most requested dance performers in Toronto and beyond. She takes pride in offering a high-end, unique performance experience to the audience, with special attention to the quality of costumes, make up and a rich dance repertoire unmatched by other dancers in the area.
List of Iana’s international awards include Cairo by Cyprus 2015, Star Bellydancer Canada 2014, Spark Dance Competition (Canada, 2012), Belly Dance Festival Bastet (Ukraine, 2009), and many others.
FREQUENTLY asked questions:
What is the best time for a belly dance performance?
It really depends on the vision of your entire wedding day. If you want to keep the show strictly as a performance, I would recommend to schedule it earlier in the evening, before or during dinner. If audience participation is an important element for you, then definitely it should be either closer to the end of dinner time, or later during the evening.
Can you involve guests into dancing?
Yes, absolutely! This is an optional part of the program, but it’s always super fun to dance with everyone. Typically I start with performing to a couple of songs, then engage with the bride and groom, and then rest of the guests. Sometimes it ends up by the whole crowd dancing with me on the dance floor, other times it’s more like changing from one person to another. The interactive part always requires me to be highly intuitive and decide on spot what fits better for each moment, but I always make sure that it done in a tasteful and fun manner.
Can interactive part be only with guests, without bride & groom? - Well, of course, I can focus only on guests, but believe my experience: guests will immediately start questioning why I ‘ignore’ the bride and groom, and most likely if I don’t react, then one of the friends or family members will push the couple to the dance floor anyway. I prefer to take the situation under control before this happens. If I see that the bride and/or groom are not comfortable dancing, I may just come to their table for a couple of moves and a quick photo before involving other guests. This way I still bring the main attention of the evening to the bride and groom, but leave them a choice to join the dance floor later without any pressure.
Some of my guests are very conservative and, although I would love to have belly dancer at my wedding, I’m not sure if it’s a good idea…
Yes, I fully understand that people have different opinions about belly dance, and of course, you know your guests better. At the same time, I’d like to mention that I often perform at very conservative weddings and guests are always happy. There are several key principles that I use to make a successful performance.
First, often the issue is in a belly dance outfit, and the fact that dancer shows her skin. However, many people don’t realize that there are many different designs and various options for very modest costumes. Moreover, a belly dance show can be performed in fully covered (stylized or traditional) dresses, so outfit is really not an issue. You can check my current selection of costumes here.
Second, we can keep everything strictly as a performance without any audience participation. In this case I often suggest to split the program into smaller acts with a costume change, and part of the performance may be in more folklore style which is also very engaging and fun. I have a uniquely rich folklore dance repertoire unmatched by other dancers in the city, so there are many dance options to choose from. :)
Third, my belly dance style is very elegant and classy. I take pride in the high level of my program and truly artistic dance skills. But I think it’s better to check the reviews from my previous clients about it. Their words will speak louder than anything about it.
Please be advised that due to a high volume of performance inquires Iana books performances on a first-come-first-serve basis. To guarantee Iana’s availability, a timely booking is recommended.
Can you USE three different props in your show?
In theory yes, but what for? It’s a dance show, not a show of props. The most impressive effect is when a dancer can capture and hold audience’s attention with her dance skills, and that’s what I do and am known for. Your guests will quickly forget visual effects, but they will remember experienced emotions for a long time! Of course, I love using props but it’s always just an addition to the dance program. Usually I use one prop per act, most often for the entrance dance, then put it down and continue with the main part of the program. The choice of prop would depend on each occasion individually (from more traditional veil to extravagant triple wings).
Can I choose the music for performance?
I’m happy to accommodate your preferences, and always take in consideration for whom I’m performing. It will be completely different music set for Egyptian, Turkish, Persian or Indian audiences, etc. If requested I can send the exact list of songs prior to the event. Also, if you have one favourite song that you definitely want to include in the program, I’m glad to do so.
As much as I want to accommodate your requests, I recommend leaving the final decision on the program details (order of songs, etc.) up to me, without trying to compose the whole program song by song. This is just because I sincerely care about the quality of my performances, and want to deliver the best show I know I can do. Also, there are certain principles of composing the program for the better energy flow, and I do it according to my professional expertise. I’m interested in delivering the best performance as much as you are interested in having it. My hope is that you and your guests will hire me again in the future, so if I insist on a certain structure of the show, it’s because it will be better for the end result.
Non-stop or split program?
I offer different program durations. The best length of a nonstop program is 20 to 25 mins. Over 25 minutes nonstop tends to be an overkill for the audience. Split program includes two 10-min acts with a short 5ish-min break for a costume change. Extended programs include several 10-min acts, or 20-min acts.
Nonstop program is the best option if belly dance is a surprise performance for your guests, if you don’t want the entertainment be the focus of the entire evening, but just one element of it, and also, if you are highly interested in audience participation and bringing as many people to the dance floor as possible. Then nonstop 20-25 min program is the best choice.
Split program works well if you want to combine belly dance and folklore performances, if you want the dancer to change outfits :), and if you have more than one performer and thinking about presenting a “mini-concert” for your guests, with different artists featured on the dance floor throughout the evening.
Extended program is a perfect fit if the majority of your guests have a background from the Near East and understand the cultural tradition, as well as the song lyrics. For example, at an Egyptian wedding it is very typical to have a belly dancer performing throughout the evening in three or four different dresses, and each act may vary between 10 to 20 minutes.
Wedding day is one of the most special days in your life, so make sure that you and your guests have great memories about it. Choose the best for your event!
If I want a split program, can I schedule the first act in the beginning of the evening, and second one closer to the end?
If you want to keep the budget within standard rates, then breaks between acts has to be as described in the program options. It is possible to arrange extended breaks for an additional fee.
Why is it so expensive for only 20ish minutes?
It’s not 20-25 minutes that you see on a stage. It’s 15+ years of previous experience that I get to express in those 20ish minutes. :)
Can it be 10 minutes for half of a price?
I can do shorter program, no problem. However, my quote remains the same as for a full 25-min performance. My job consists of much more than just “show-up and dance”. Every performance involves at least 3-4 hours of preparations on the day of event (make-up, hair, costume check) to make sure that the presentation is professional; time invested into composing a program that fits for your event the best, editing music tracks; rehearsing of the dance repertoire specifically for your event; travel expenses to the event location; as well as time and money invested into every day training that actually enables an artist to perform on a high level in general. At the end, it really doesn’t make much of a difference for me to dance 10 minutes, or full 25.
I found other dancers who change less…
Like in any field (from hair salons to jewelry stores to dance artists) there is always someone who tells they can do job for less, but it all depends on what quality you expect. It’s one thing if you are looking for an amateur dancer with semi-professional costume, and a completely different thing if you really care about your and guests’ experience. In this case, choose to work with professionals.
Along with being one of the most requested dancers in Ontario, I also have a successful international career with performances in dozens of countries worldwide including Egypt, Turkey, Germany, Brazil, Bulgaria, USA, and many others. My awards include Winner of Star Bellydancer Canada 2014, International Competition Cairo by Cyprus 2015, and many more. Usually people who invited me once to perform at their event, keep inviting me again and again for their other celebrations. I pay a lot of attention to all nuances of the show, and always personalize my programs to make sure it's the best fit for each occasion.
Once again, I think reviews from my previous clients will speak louder about it.
Can you organize a group performance?
I specialize in high-end solo shows, and don’t provide group performances. It allows me to keep the top level of the program quality, including highly customized shows for each event, constantly updating repertoire and exclusive one-of-a-kind costumes. Also, for me the magic of belly dance performance is not in a presented dance choreography. It’s in the emotional connection between dancer and audience, which is often very difficult to establish while dancing in a group. Knowing my strongest skills and performance possibilities, working as a solo artist allows me to deliver the best I can do, and quickly adjust things on spot to make sure my audience receive the best experience. Also, number of performers has no direct influence on how spectacular the show is. I had performed for occasions with more than 600 guests, and clients called me back for their later celebrations.
At the same time, I often perform accompanied by drummer Pedro Bonatto. Element of live music always adds an extra energy, and spices the program with dancer-drummer-audience interaction.
What are requirements, terms and conditions for the performance?
You can find booking informations, as well as requirements regarding music/space/change room here. Also, I always send a booking agreement prior to confirming the show, and accepting any deposit payments.
How much in advance should I book?
I have a high volume of inquired, and book on a first-come-first-serve basis. Sometimes people are lucky to book me just a week prior to their event, but also I have dates booked a year in advance. It is difficult to predict when exactly each day will get booked, so I highly recommend to contact me as early as possible. You can inquire about my availability here.
Start planning your wedding day in advance in order to avoid disappointment of not being able to host the best vendors! Check Iana’s availability now to guarantee she can perform at your special day!