Bullying is not a term I like to use within the context of bellydance but unfortunately it does exist.
As with anything that requires growth and progress it is good to have structure. With structure come the rules and expectations. Rules and guidelines seem to increase when bellydance crosses over into the business world. But when did the suggested guidelines become laws and more important than the actual dancing? Can one be a professional bellydancer even if not trained and certified in a specific format? When did meeting other dancers' requirements become a priority in a dancer's life? Do professional dancers need to ask every other dancer what his or her rates are to know what to charge just to make sure no one is offended?
To be clear, I'm all for helpful suggested guidelines, as long as that is what they truly are. As for certification systems, if voluntary, they could be a very helpful tool depending on your preferred learning method.
The short of it is: if the systems, formats, guidelines, and structures come from a controlling and forceful attitude they are a losing game all around. No one and nothing is elevated, not the dancer, not the troupe, not the community nor the dance. What I have found to be helpful is to focus on what I as an individual can create.
Najia of gidledserpent.com of course has a much juicier way of wording her opinion on undercutting, intimidation, aggression and controlling schemes. A MUST read!
What do you think, is it just business or is it bullying? Have you ever been bullied in bellydance? How did you handle it?