Several of the organizers who sent out our press releases in the past were able to get good local coverage for their events!
Don’t worry too much over sending press releases; only do it if you have time and if you think your studio or local dance scene might benefit from the publicity. Haflas usually attract only dancers and their friends and families, but it never hurts to get the word out about what you’re doing!
The following is only a suggestion; feel free to change it to reflect your local event, include your own photos, etc. (family-friendly photos are very helpful to get your release published) or attach some of the photos from our image library.
To send the release, make a list of local newspapers and morning news programs. Look at the “contact us” page on their websites to find e-mails for sending out the press release. You can also print and fax them.
If you are really determined to get media coverage, call first, ask who to address an event press release to, and follow up with a phone call to make sure the proper editor received it and ask if they have any questions.
Be sure to replace everything [inside brackets] with your event’s information
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: [date you’re sending the press release]
Press Contact: [your name]
Phone Number: [your phone number]
E-mail: [your e-mail]
Local Bellydancers Raising Money For The People of Yemen
[Your City] — [date you are sending the e-mail]
On [date], [city] will come to life with Middle Eastern music and dance as our local bellydancers join a global effort to raise money for the war-torn nation of Yemen. [Your name] is organizing this local event, which will be held at [venue] and is open to the public. Tickets will be priced at $[XX] and are available [at a website? at the door?]
The event is part of a global network of fundraisers called “Global Hafla for Humanity.” Hafla means “party” in Arabic, but the international bellydance community uses the word to mean informal performance events, student recitals, and gatherings.
So far, belly dancers 15 cities around the world have signed up to raise money to support the International Rescue Committee’s work in Yemen. The dancers raised over $20,000 for the IRC during their first global event in 2015; this year the organization has specifically asked for support for Yemen, because the need there is so great.
Lauren “Zehara” Haas, the founder of Hafla for Humanity, says, “The situation in Yemen is hard to wrap your head around. The people there are dealing with war, famine, and a cholera epidemic all at the same time. A huge percentage of the population is literally starving.”
“We often feel like we have to stand by, helpless, while suffering like this goes on, but we can help to provide that support. I was inspired to begin this event by seeing something similar that the yoga community was doing to raise funds; I’d love to inspire other close-knit global communities, such as Facebook groups, band together in the same way. Individually we may feel lost, but together we are powerful.”
Haas goes on to talk about women who belly dance and why they want to help. “So many women — and some men — find healing and a way to express themselves through this dance form. Contrary to the stereotypes we sometimes face, belly dancers are some the most intelligent, creative, compassionate people I’ve ever known. We’re sensitive to the line we walk between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation, and we want to give back to the Arab and Middle Eastern world that has given us so much. We hear a lot about religious fundamentalism in that part of the world, but there’s so much more… There’s art, music, beauty, poetry — and also tremendous suffering among people who’ve done nothing to hurt anyone.”
Local dancer [your name] agrees. “[statement from you about why you got involved, etc. in your own words, about bellydance, about your studio, or about the charity. This whole section is optional, add whatever you’re comfortable saying.]”
Come to [venue name] at [time] to enjoy an evening of vibrant entertainment, get a peek into your local bellydance community, and support the IRCs work with Syrian refugees.
[maybe add some details about your local event here that would entice people to come. Will there be fire dancers, folk dances, swords, etc? Live music? Food? Focus on whatever might make people want to come to your event.]
Visit [website or FB event] for more information.