Monday, March 25, 2013

A Hairy Situation: Hair Extensions and Belly Dance

Chicago Belly Dance, Chicago Belly Dancer, Chicago wedding entertainment, Birthday party ideas Chicago, Hair extensions with Adonia Belly Dance in ChicagoChicago Belly Dance, Chicago Belly Dancer, Chicago wedding entertainment, Birthday party ideas Chicago, Hair extensions with Adonia Belly Dance in ChicagoChicago Belly Dance, Chicago Belly Dancer, Chicago wedding entertainment, Birthday party ideas Chicago, Hair extensions with Adonia Belly Dance in Chicago

A Hairy Situation

If you are a belly dancer and have always wanted to know more about hair pieces or extensions
this blog by Adonia Belly Dance is the place for you. Today we are talking all about hair. As many of you know I recently got hair extensions but for years before I have played with hair pieces and styles to find exactly the look I am going for which is that classic American Cabaret belly dancer look but with a hint of a modern edge. Anyone who knows me know that is the style I LOVE. So today I just want to share with you some of my experience with this hairy situation.

When I was about 17 I had hair to my belt line and then I joined the united states air force (USAF) and decided to cut it all off and donate it to locks of love. Since then I have missed my long hair. I tried growing it out but I have a TON of hair and it was just impractical for my job in the USAF. So I left it be....After becoming a belly dancer I decided to grow my hair out but it takes some time.

In an effort to get that classic belly dancer look and the long hair I love I have tried hair pieces. For a long time I used they clip in track extensions which are basically a length of hair extensions on wig clips. Well this was great until one day in the middle of a show my hair got stuck on my finger/zill and flung right off across the room! OMG! I was so embarrassed. So what to do. I found a way to attach them by creating tiny little pony tails and attaching them to that point. But this was time consuming and when they were in to long they gave me a headache. Also, I was always a little worried they would come out.

When I went to Jewel of the Sierra 2012 I met a couple of dancers with beautiful hair! One of them told me that they use 3/4 wigs that clip in the same way as my old hair extensions but they were more secure because they were in a circle and you also attach them with the tiny pony tail method as before. I asked her how they worked and how they held up. She said that they were great and even held up thru her Ayoub section. WOW! Now that gives me hope! But I am still a little worried since I tend to flip my hair a lot.

So I did some research and happened to run across a posting from one of my friends on facebook who was looking for a model for her hair extension class. So immediately I contacted her and went in for a consultation. We talked about length and matched the color exactly. Then the big day came and I went in and spent about 7 hours getting SoCap extensions put in my hair. Wait! Don't get scared. It wasn't that bad and it normally doesn't take that long. It was a training day so she was just learning the process and I have about double the hair of most people aaaannnnddd.... I had three colors to be put in. So this was quite a challenge for someone just starting to learn the skill of applying hair extensions.

The process itself was painless. First, She washed and clarified my hair. Then she dried it and separated it. She attached about 160 bonds (tiny strands of hair) which is about three bundles in three or so rows. The hair is a long strand of clean human hair that is dyed with a textile dye so that is doesn't fade. It is a fixed to the hair on your head by a tiny dot of keratin adhesive which is safe for the hair as your hair is made of keratin. It is placed near the scalp and the glue is heated by the worlds tiniest flat iron. Then TaDa! You have a hair extension. Once they were all in it was time to cut and curl. All the sudden I had the hair that I had when I was a girl but better.

I LOVE my new hair extensions. They do require some maintenance to keep them from becoming a mess but nothin to troubling. Keep them as tangle free as possible, don't apply direct heat to the bonds, and braid or put your hair up when you sleep. Pretty basic long hair up keep. The only thing that has bothered me is just getting use to the bonds. For some reason the are a little itchy to me right now but I am sure that will calm down as they relax and adjust. I am just not use to feeling them in my hair yet. I am sure I will get use to how they feel. Other than that, the are FANTASTIC! I have swam with them and performed with them in three shows and they are just wonderful. They feel fine, they look amazing, and I feel beautiful. If you are looking to get hair extensions I would defiantly suggest them and would suggest going to Solo Salon in Chicago to get them done.

 If you have any questions or comments please message me below. If you do not see a comments box below 
please click here to join the conversation. I would love to hear your feedback. Visit to hire Adonia Belly Dance at your next Chicago wedding, birthday party, or special event. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

5 Tips to get the most from your belly dance class

Adonia Belly Dance
With all my heart, I love to teach belly dance classes in Chicago. I love to watch my students grow, learn, and become more confident with each class.  My students are wonderful people and I admire their positive attitudes towards learning. And, I appreciate their kind way of always telling me their honest opinion of the class and what they would like to see more or less of.

That said, we don't all start that way. What if your new to belly dance classes and have no idea where to begin. What class is right for you? What should you expect? What is and isn't appropriate? While every instructor has their own 'ism's' and rules, There are some basics that ring true in most classes. Knowing these can help you pick a class that's right for you, walk in confidently, and help you feel more comfortable than you might otherwise be. So lets get to it...

1. Know what class is right for you.
What do you need or what are you looking for in a belly dance class? Do you want to learn the art of belly dance or do you simply want to get stronger or lose weight? If you want to get fit and lose weight or just want to go shake it with your girlfriends go check out a gym or recreation center. Look for a class that focuses on fitness or focuses on a more cardio based program. If you want to learn the more technique or the nuts and bolts of the dance. Find a belly dance school, smaller gym, college, or yoga/Pilates studio and you will often find a class that focuses more on technique. You can learn which type it is by the online description or just give them a call and ask.

2. What do you need to start.
You will need something comfortable to wear and I would suggest wearing something that makes you feel beautiful and good about yourself. Just be sure that it is stretchy or movable and wont keep you to warm. I generally suggest that you don't wear jeans or sweat pant's or sweat shirts. Generally yoga type pants, a comfortable top, and bring your scarf if you have one. If you are going to a fitness class then you won't need anything specific, just you and some comfortable clothing. If you are going to a technique class then there is a possibility that you may need zills or a veil... Though you will not generally need them immediately. Most instructors will give you some time or have them available for sale.

3. What should you expect.
Assuming that you are starting in a beginner level class... You can expect a short warm up, the 'meat' of the class, and a cool down. The 'meat' of the class in a fitness class will consist of non stop movement with the goal of raising your heart rate. Or in a technique class you can expect focus on muscle isolation, steps, and musicality. These things will often be but together into combinations or choreography.

4. Be prepared.
ALWAYS come to class clean and wearing what ever deodorant you use but try not to wear much fragrance, if any, because you never know if one of your class mates will be allergic to the sent. Once you have joined a class the instructor will tell you what you need for class each week. Bring those things to class. Be early to class and don't forget to bring.... your comfortable clothes, a hip scarf, veil, zills, and water. You should always have these things ready for class because you never know when you will need them.

5. Don't forget you are paying the instructor to teach you.
Always remember you are there to learn the dance of another culture and as such... please be sensitive and aware of those cultural sensitivities  Also, While it is fun to go and chit chat and giggle with your friends, When class is in session the teacher has the floor and talking over her or trying to 'help' teach your friend in class is disruptive to others and disrespectful to the instructor. Remember, you are paying her to teach for a reason, so give her the respect she deserves. If you or your friend have a question be sure to ask the instructor as it is likely that others have the same question. Doing so will help the whole class and let every feel included.

If you follow these 5 simple tips when attending your first set of belly dance class then you should find yourself in a very fun and rewarding class situation. See you in class :)
Hugs and Happy Dancing,

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Busting Belly Dance Price Myths for Chicago Weddings & Events

Adonia Belly Dance Chicago Wedding Entertainment, Birthday Party, Special Events.

From weddings to birthday parties, here at Adonia Belly Dance we LOVE to have fun at our Chicago shows. Even in the booking process we try to keep things light and happy, but what happens when a client doesn't like the price because they feel that either there are 'no costs to recoup' so therefore the dancer should charge less or that it costs to much based on time alone. Well, lets take a look at what goes into your show, how and why the price is what it is, and what Adonia provides for your show that will set the experience apart from the rest to make you both impressed with the spectacular performance given at your event as well as confident and happy that you chose us.

The price of a show is entirely dependent on the needs of the costumer and how far away they are. I once had a client tell me that because I had no 'overhead' and no 'product' that I should charge less than the price I quoted him. This line of thought bothered me deeply. In fact it was this situation along with another that sparked this blog post. If this person feels this way then there must be others who also share this thought, so presto... we are going to bust the lid right off this, and other, myth(s).

So let's get right down to it. We'll check off the easy ones first... topping the list we have the dance itself. No dancer just wakes up as an amazing accomplished dancer worthy of entertaining your guests. She had to train for at least 4-5 years before ever setting foot on stage. Assuming that she took classes at the general rate of $10-15 a class every week for 5 years her training totals  $ 2600 - $3900 not including private lessons or workshops. So, well, say an average of about $3000 to be fair. However, when you hire top notch entertainment from Adonia, she takes it to the next level. Ho hum or just good enough doesn't fly here so she continues her training on a regular basis from internationaly renowned instructors to keep your show exciting and high class. The price for that ongoing training averages about $300 a month. So we can easily round over 9 years of training to approximately $6000 in total to include the previous $3000.

Then there is costuming, props, and beauty routine. I know, why does this apply to you? It applies to you because you work very hard to make sure that your event has every detail in order. Why would you spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the perfect venue, DJ or band, decorations, flowers, invitations or marketing, etc. but hire the cheapest dancer possible to save money only to find yourself completely embarrassed by either her dancing, terrible demeanor, or terrible appearance. Pretty much your worst nightmare, right?

Even if you are planning something small, quality always tops the list and sadly you can't buy high quality anything for peanuts. WHAT!? Say it aint sooo.... alas my friends, tis true. Seriously though, let's look at the numbers. Quality costuming $300-$1200+ on average. So for the sake of numbers we'll go half way and say the average costume is around $750. Then props... and I am going to just add the average price for those props included in your standard set. This does not include specialty items. Single Veil $50-$100, Zills $40, Balancing prop such as sword or candelabra $70-$200. Total average prop price for a standard set....$250. Then there is hair cut and color which can easily be $200. If you like dancers with long hair, they likely have extensions for about $1200 and professional polished nails (fingers and toes) will run you about $50 a month give or take, depending on your salon.

Of course you want someone who is fit and has some color so she shows up in the photos right? Let's face it, without tanning some of us could be Casper's sister. So, tanning runs about $40 a month and the gym runs about $30 or so a month. Make-up is the most difficult to predict as you can't conclusively predict how much you use for each show but to give you an idea, lashes are $16 and the brushes alone run $40 each and most of us have at least a dozen of them along with hundreds of dollars in powders and creams so that we look perfect for your show.

Not to mention, most dancers spend nearly 3 hours prepping before each show. That 3 hours is just shower, hair, and make up. Depending on how fast you can get it all done, the time will vary, but 3 hours is a good average for most dancers.

Additionally, we spend hundreds of dollars to find the perfect music to make your show dynamic, and trust me that is an expensive and lengthy process. Adonia goes the extra mile to spend what feels like endless hours editing that music so that it all merges together perfectly so your guests walk away beaming, happy and remember what a great time they had at your event.

All right boys and girls.... POP QUIZ. Given the above parameters, how much does your 15-45min show cost before the dancer walks in the door at your event? *Insert Jeopardy music here*

Let's show our work shall we.... Training $6000, Costume $750, Props $250, Hair $1400, Nails $50, Tanning $40, Gym $30, Music $200 (conservatively), Make-up $500 (conservatively)... please note that this does not included the cost of the marketing required to help you find us, gas money for the trip or wear and tear on the vehicle, parking, meals, luggage to get our props and costumes to and from the show, the time included in the 3 hour prep, or the travel time involved in attending your event...... *drum roll please*.........$9220 HOLY MACARONI!!!!

So... Myth #1: Belly dancers have no costs to recoup so should therefore charge less....BUSTED!

Myth #2: Belly dancers charge based on time.....NOT TRUE! And here's why.

As we have shown above, there are specific costs incurred to perform at each show before the dancer even walks in the door, regardless of the length of time of the show. The length of the show is really based on the average audience demographic for each event and the needs of each client to create the show of their dreams. So it is highly impractical to charge by the minute, or even by the hour. This is why we charge by the show and have different packages for different events. Also, there is lots and lots of practice and or choreography time put into each show. The longer the show, the more work there is to be done to create the show, also the more specialty props or requests the client would like to include, the more pre-show hours are incurred to make the show to your specifications. This is why there are fluctuations in the pricing between packages. Those packages have been created so that each client gets charged a fair rate based on their needs.

Having a belly dancer at your venue or event is a luxury, setting you and your wedding, venue, or event apart from the rest. When you hire Adonia for your Chicago wedding, birthday party, or show you get the best in belly dance entertainment. She pays attention to your every detailed need incorporating your theme or color scheme into her performance attire, along with a wide variety of specialty props, and professional images for your marketing or invitations. She also (if requested in advance) incorporates your favorite music into the show or would be happy to connect you with fabulous top Chicago middle eastern or greek bands to complete the ambiance of your event. As you can see, the better the bellydancer, the classier you look and the more impressed your guests will be with you.

Thank you so much for reading this and I hope it has helped bring to light why quality dancers charge what they charge and how you get your money's worth from hiring a belly dancer. If you have any questions or comments please message me below. If you do not see a comments box below please click here to join the conversation. I would love to hear your feedback. Visit to hire Adonia Belly Dance at your next Chicago wedding, birthday party, or special event.

Hugs and Happy Dancing,