How Long Should a Show Be?

This is a great question and one that I wish people would ask more. Often clients tend to assume that an hour-long show would be ideal because it seems like a nice, round number. However, in practice, we find that an hour-long show is way too long. People’s attention spans just can’t handle an hour-long show, unless they’re in a theater and they bought tickets. At an event like a wedding, corporate event, or a birthday party, 25 minutes is the sweet spot.

Jazz dancers in black leotards.

But truthfully, it really depends on many factors. Here’s a quick guide to help you plan your live entertainment:

Dance style
Some styles of dance are more physically intense than others. Salsa and Hip-Hop, for example, are very athletic dances, and therefore tend to be shorter. These shows can be made longer by having party pumping at the end. Other styles of dance like belly dance, for example, lend themselves more easily to longer shows because they can be less cardio intense but incorporate large props to keep up the energy of the show. I would advise you to speak to the director or organizer of the dance company you hire to find out their recommended show length.


Number of dancers
If you have more than one dancer, the show could typically be slightly longer for two reasons. One, more dancers allows for more dynamic and exciting choreography, and two, costume changes can be done during the show, which will keep your guests engaged for longer.

The show length varies greatly depending on the specifics of your event, but for a soloist we typically recommend a show between 15 and 25 minutes, and for groups, we typically recommend a show length of 20 to 30 minutes.

A gogo dancer in black costume.

Surprise shows
If a show is a surprise for someone, it may be better for the show to be shorter. If the show is at a corporate event or in a large venue, and guests are not expecting a show or do not have seats, it’s typically better to have a short show.

If the show is at a wedding, be sure to notify the wedding planner in advance so that be newlyweds do not worry that their special day is going to be behind schedule.

Of course, there are many instances when a surprise show can be a normal length, particularly house parties and birthday parties.


I briefly mentioned this before, but the setup of your venue affects the comfort of your guests during the show. If your guests do not have seats, they may be uncomfortable standing for a long show.

Additionally, a venue without place to change also limits the number of dancers and show length.


Whatever your plans are, a professional company will be able to advise you on an ideal show length. A mark of an experienced dancer or director is that they will ask you questions and work with you to provide entertainment.

A soloist belly dancer in a pink costume.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line!

Happy party planning!

Nocturna Entertainment provides soloist dancers, group shows, specialty acts like fire and aerial, as well as ambiance models and entertainment, designed to be eye-catching and exciting.

Call 323-552-9181 or email to inquire about shows.

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