Harlan Ellison on working for free.

Undercutting is something that many a professional artist has to battle on a regular basis. In the bellydance world, it seems to happen when a new dancer has dreams of performing and offers to dance in a venue for less than the going rate. I could go on and on about the perils of undercutting, but Harlan Ellison sums it all up quite nicely. Just watch.


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Right on, brother, right on.




Thank you for posting this. It is all too easy for us to undervalue ourselves, it happens all the time!




Say it, Brother Harlan!




This is damn right! And you know what, if dancer would have good established working condition then we might get more professional dancer and an overall better product to attract people in their restaurant. I was horrified when I discovered than some of my friends would do a whole dance night (3 sets) in a restaurant for 90$!!! Holy shit, can you, please, ask more than the waitress, because she don’t have an 400$ outfit and 5 year of practice behind?!! Even new unexperienced dancer should consider that! Most of the excuse seem to be that this is part time hobby job on the side. Well, be sure that at this 90$ rate, it will never get more than a damn hobby!

Jeez, grown teeth and bite, you won’t regret it.

gen, from montreal




“I don’t piss without getting paid”

Hells to the Yeah.

We need to make sure we educate our students about undercutting! Respect to the dancers out there who stick to their guns and respect their community…




I still have mixed feelings about the mixed messages I see on this issue from dancers. In general I hear a consensus that dancers should always insist on being paid a professional wage, but many seem to feel that they should be able to use whatever music they want for free, often not even crediting the musicians whose work has inspired their dance. I’ve yet to hear a dancer complain that I was “undercutting” by selling her a piece of costume cheap (or giving it for free) or by providing music cheap or for free.

Meanwhile, like so many people, I’m trying to wrap my head around concepts like those presented in Chris Anderson’s book “Free: The Future Of A Radical Price.” If we want our music free and our websites free, and presumably Harlan Ellison won’t get paid for your use of his video, what makes a live performance so categorically different?




What makes it worse is when it is a professional dancer with years of experience that is doing the undercutting to break into a new market/region. Professionals should know better!



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