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PBG Suggested Standards of Professionalism

Developed in discussion within the Board over a year, combining what we personally considered important to focus on when working to achieve a high standard of professional behavior.

Members, do you have additions or suggestions? Email us, this is a group effort!

Performance and Teaching
  1. Arrive to all performance/teaching events early or on-time, and with a positive attitude.
  2. Refine and develop consistent technique in teaching and performance.
  3. Cross-train with different instructors, styles, and forms.
  4. Hone performance/instruction skills before presenting yourself as a working professional.
  5. Commit to regular rehearsal/class preparation.
  6. Cultivate physical endurance that allows for comfortable and polished performance and instruction.
  7. Able to display grace and ease when performing with props, e.g., finger cymbals, veil, or balancing prop (sword, tray, candelabra), etc.
  8. Treat others with kindness and respect, in both language and manner.
  9. If performing a specific genre of dance, make sure to have a working knowledge of the applicable dance movement and music for that genre.
  10. Avoid excessive alcohol use before, during or after a performance. Do not discuss or use illegal drugs in performance or teaching settings.
  11. Send event producers well-mastered music in the proper format, along with other requested materials, in a timely manner.
  12. Always bring back up music to a performance event.
  13. Arrange if/how you will take tips before you arrive when performing, & inform your audience as such whenever possible.
  14. Always be announced at any private party/gig/show. (exception – restaurants where it’s an expected thing to have a dancer).

Continuing Education

  1. Like any career, it is vital to maintain a lifelong commitment to furthering your personal dance and music education.
  2. Seek to educate yourself on your performance music, including rhythms, maqams, genres of music (oriental, baladi, shaabi, Turkish, Lebanese, Egyptian, fusion, drum solos, classic songs), meaning of lyrics (if any) and finger cymbals.
  3. Maintain a dedication to expanding your individual artistic development.
  4. Cultivate a sustainable personal practice for physical health and well-being. Your body is your livelihood, treat it well for longevity!


  1. Own at least two well-fitting professional quality costumes that are appropriate for the style(s) you wish to portray.
  2. When in costume and not performing, wear a cover-up while in view of the audience.
  3. Be sure your costume covers everything that it intends to cover (i.e. does it fit, AND stay in place while dancing about?)
  4. Practice in your costume prior to performing to minimize tangles malfunctions.

Ethical Business Behavior

  1. Create and utilize a performance contract agreement.
  2. Do not hesitate to ask for a contract and a deposit to hold a booking date.
  3. Track dance income and expenses for yourself and clients for tax purposes. If you ever pay anyone more than 600$ total in a year, you are required to submit a 1099 form.
  4. Be aware of current going rates for performance and instruction in your area, and educate yourself and your students on the negative affects that come from undercutting in the arts. Please see our Going Rates page for more info.
  5. Arrange for a back up dancer in case of illness or emergency, well in advance of the event.
  6. Be aware of your surroundings in unknown/private residence situations. Take a buddy with you, or make phone call check-in arrangements when arriving and leaving.
  7. Attempt to keep a dialogue open between yourself and other performers/instructors/producers, to minimize overbooking of events or classes.

Community and Public Representation

  1. Commit yourself as much as you're able to nurturing positive, supportive relationships within the local and larger dance communities.
  2. When performing or attending an event, keep in mind that you are helping to represent your community! Carefully consider your music, costuming and behavior choices in every situation—especially when in view of the public at large.
  3. Show respect for your fellow performers by staying at performances (both dancers and musicians) until they are finished whenever possible.
  4. Always tip your bar staff, even on comped drinks!

Photographers: Suggested Code of Ethics

Written by Guy Masson, with input from the Board.

Purpose - A basic outline of professional standards and behavior as a photographer.
Scope - Portland Bellydance Guild members and interested parties.

  • I will be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of my subjects.
  • I will respect the integrity of the photographic moment.
  • I will treat all my subjects with respect and dignity.
  • I will be unobtrusive and humble in dealing with my subjects.
  • I will work with local event producers to improve and enhance the representation of dance and related events within the community.
  • While editing images, I will maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context.
  • I will not manipulate images in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent my subjects.
  • When confronted with situations in which the proper action is not clear, I will seek the counsel of those who exhibit the highest standards of the profession.
  • I will continuously study the Photography craft and adhere to the ethics that guide and protect it.
  • I will respect my subject’s right to control their public image, and will whenever reasonable attempt to gain subject’s consent (written, implied, via posted photo forms, or verbal) before posting images publicly.
  • If a subject requests a photo be removed from public view, I will do so as swiftly and permanently as possible.
  • I will strive by example and influence to maintain the spirit and high standards expressed in this code.

Artisans: Suggested Code of Ethics

Written by Jillian Ordes-Finley, with input from the Board

  • Designers should constantly be striving to keep their work consistently of high quality, and maintain a desire to learn and improve. They should comply with all laws that relate to their field. They should be honest about rates and times, charge people fairly, and be transparent about paid projects and estimates for clients. They should work with integrity and competence, keep their clients' best interests in mind, and avoid any wasted time or expenses.  They should respect the confidentiality of their clients, and where applicable not reveal any details about a project without the client's consent.
  • Local designers should keep themselves aware of what other designers are making and avoid copying designs. In incidents of dispute, designers should work together to come up with an equitable solution.
  • No designer should agree to exactly copy another designer's work. This includes non-professional designers who are making items for themselves that they do not intend to sell.
  • No designer should knowingly agree to work at a cheaper rate for the exact same project as another designer. Most projects vary in price according to the work involved and material costs, but deliberately undercutting another designer is considered unethical.
  • Photos, any published text, branding, names, and promotional copy should be considered the intellectual property of the creator and not be reused by others without permission.
  • Designers who have employees should create an ethical work environment. Working conditions should be safe and abide by all state laws, workers should be compensated fairly, and employers should not practice any discrimination or mistreatment.
Going Rates, Costuming
  • Alterations should be a $35 surcharge minimum.
  • Freelance and custom seamstress work should be a $35 minimum surcharge plus $35 minimum per hour for each hour after the first. This charge can include incidental supplies, like thread and needles. A separate charge should be included for materials such as fabrics, trims, etc.
  • Professional, brand new costume bedlah sets (a bra and belt) should be a $500 minimum. Undecorated bedlah base sets should be a minimum $125. Designers should strive for nothing short of professional quality for products intended for sale to the community at large.
  • Pattern making should be $60 per hour and up (patterns to be used by others for sewing work)

Additional Resources & Discussions on Ethics/Professionalism



Samira Sharuk.com


Atlanta Bellydance






The Portland Bellydance Guild is fiscally sponsored by the Marissa Mission, a  subset of the Present Time Dream Factory, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization supporting the arts in Portland, OR.

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