OSHA Requirements for Belly Dancers
Belly dancing can be a hazardous profession.
What if the US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health
Administration developed rules for bellydancers?
That was the premise of a presentation done by the
Rising Phoenix Dancers
for the opening ceremonies of
Oasis Dance Camp-South 1996.
The following is a draft of the text of the presentation,
which was developed by the entire group.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration Requirements
for Belly Dancers
- Dancers are not allowed to perform in bare feet, because of the
danger from glass beads and other debris on floors. Sturdy
footwear is required. Heavy-duty footwear such as army boots
is also useful in Florida for stomping on cockroaches.
- Knee pads are required for all dancers engaging in floor work.
Wrist pads are suggested to protect against carpal tunnel when
Elbow pads are advised for protection against run-ins with
- A back brace should be worn to prevent hyperextension.
- Surgical collars should be worn for apres-zar wear.
- Sunglasses are required for outdoor daytime events, especially
in Florida. They are also recommended to guard against
spotlight blindness when on indoor stages.
- Florida outdoor requirements:
- Lightweight clothing is required to avoid overheating.
- Mosquito netting is required.
- Zinc oxide must be worn for sun protection.
- To reduce dancer fatigue, dancer aids are allowed, such as:
- strategically placed vibrators to help with shimmies.
- a grabbing stick may serve in place of a Belly Dancer's
Assistant for picking tips up off the floor. This device
is also handy for grabbing club owners trying to sneak out
without paying you.
- a gyroscope to help stay upright while doing spins.
- a battery-operated fan to avoid overheating. A hand fan is
not sufficient, must replace with battery-operated fan.
- a broomstick worn across the shoulders to keep shoulders
down, elbows up.
- a wind-up Monkey to play cymbals.
- Rusty dancers should use Naval Jelly.
- For dancers working in restaurants:
- Loose hair must be worn in a fishnet.
- To combat the danger from secondary smoke, dancers are advised
to wear gas masks, goggles, and carry a scuba tank for oxygen.
- The dancer should carry a flyswatter, stun gun, or mace spray
to deal with annoying patrons.
- All dancers dancing in sleazy joints must take tap dancing or
clogging classes, so they can learn how to stamp on cockroaches
while still dancing.
- Dancers should take anti-vertigo pills if they will be dancing
under a spinning disco ball.
- When working wih live music, it is recommended that the dancer
have cue cards available to communicate with the musicians.
- Turkish drops are considered too dangerous to be done without
some type of safety net. Air mattresses are acceptable safety
- Canes and swords are considered dangerous. Nerf versions are
recommended. Otherwise, canes can be no more than 12" in length.
- Candles, candlabras, and pots of fire are unsafe. All forms of
lights are outlawed including electric battery-operated lights,
which can cause electric shock when sweat drips on the contacts.
Dancers are only allowed to wear lampshades to simulate the idea
of lighted sources.
- Fringe can be no longer than 3 bugle beads in length unless the
dancer has a fringe protection device. OSHA approved fringe
protection devices include a fringe guard, rubber bands, and
- All dancers must have mirrors either on their costume or on
their person, so they can signal for help when they're lost
in their choreography and can't get out.
- Dancers meeting the OSHA requirements may wear a banner that
says "OSHA Approved Dancer" at all times.
our ODC page
Rising Phoenix Dancers Home