Code of Conduct
Dancing is a language that we express when we are together. It makes us laugh and gives us great social and emotional experiences.
Dancing brings us closer to each other, both in spirit and physically. Swing Dance is built on communication and connection. Being in the comfort zone is important, but being in the safety zone is essential.
We are all different and many of us come from very different backgrounds so typically we all have different experiences of the same situations. It is therefore even more important that we remember to take care of each other and respect each other’s boundaries.
So please go out and dance, make yourself and your dance partner happy, but let’s remember that:
● It is always allright to decline a dance and without having to justify why; not just the second dance but also the first.
● If someone says no to a dance with you; do not take it personally. You do not know their reasons and they might not want to tell you.
● Know your boundaries and respect boundaries of others; stand up for them and let others know if they cross them, but be polite.
● If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, please remember that your fellow dancers, the teachers and the board members really want what’s best for you. You are always welcome to come and talk to us.
● If you see, hear or experience anything that might worry you, please talk to the teachers or send us an email.
We believe that every dancer or participant hast he right to feel safe. We do not tolerate harassment or bullying, and are actively working to prevent sexual harassment in the swing dance scene.
Code of Conduct
• There is room for all of us on the dance floor. We welcome all dancers and lovers of music regardless of gender/gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or ability, physical appearance, religion, and so on.
• We’re looking out for our peeps. If you harass someone, you may be asked to leave, you may be banned from other events managed by the organising team, the police may be notified, and this is at our discretion. We do not have to give you a second chance.
• Talk nice. Do not use misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or racist language.
• Your body is important. Respect the bodies and persons of other people: do not touch without asking permission, stop if someone asks you to stop touching them, and give other dancers space and time alone if they need it.
• Be ok with people saying no. If you ask someone to dance and they say “No thank you,” be ok with that. Reply, “Hey, no worries – maybe another time!” and move on to ask someone else. No one is obliged to dance with you.
• You can say no. If someone asks you to dance and you don’t want to, say “No thank you” and leave it at that. If you someone asks you to dance and you do want to, say “YES please!” Nothing is better than enthusiastic consent.
• Play safe. Do not pull aerials, lifts, or drops on the social dance floor, save it for jams and comps. You must have verbal consent from every dance partner before you do lifts, drops, or aerials. Just because you had consent once, does not mean you have it now.
Sexual Harassment Policy
What counts as sexual harassment? Sexual harassment may (according to the European Human Rights Commission) include:
• Staring or leering
• unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against you (i.e. deliberately touching lightly while passing the other person), or unwelcome touching suggestive comments or jokes
• insults or taunts of a sexual nature
• intrusive questions or statements about your private life
• displaying posters, magazines, or screen savers of a sexual nature
• sending sexually explicit emails or text messages
• inappropriate advances on social networking sites
• accessing sexually explicit internet sites
• requests for sex or repeated unwanted requests to go out on dates
• behaviour that may be considered an offence under criminal law, such as physical assault, indecent exposure, sexual assault, stalking, or obscene communications.
How does this relate to dancing?
• Harassment is unwanted or unwelcome behaviour (sexual or otherwise) which makes a person feel offended, humiliated, or intimidated. This means it is ILLEGAL to hold a dance partner very close if they do not want to be held. If someone says they do not want to dance, and you insist, touching them and pulling them, it is harassment. Avoid ‘boob swipes’, touching a partner’s bottom, groin, upper legs – you know the deal. If you accidentally do so, apologise immediately. If you do this repeatedly, you will be warned, if not ejected from the event.
• Sexual harassment is not interaction, flirtation, or friendship which is mutual or consensual. Happy, consensual dances (no matter how close the position) is AOk. Hooking up at a dance event with a consenting adult is also totally AOk.
• Sexual harassment is a type of sexual discrimination, in the provision of employment, education, or accommodation. This means it’s ILLEGAL to sexually harass your host or guest, your dance teacher or student, your DJ or sound engineer, volunteer or musician, event manager, MC, or performer.
• We have a legal and moral obligation to actively prevent sexual harassment. We WILL act immediately on your reports or complaints, and we will warn offenders.
• Sexual harassment can be obvious or indirect, physical or verbal, repeated or one-off, and perpetrated by all genders against people of any gender. If you are not sure, if you think it is creepy or makes you feel uncomfortable and you want a second opinion, if you see something and you have a hunch ASK for advice.
How do I avoid sexually harassing someone?
• Ask for verbal consent: “Would you like to dance?” “Would you like a drink?” “Would you like to take a walk?” “Would you like to come back to my place?”
• Even if you’ve been given consent before, ask every time, and use your words.
• Be ok with people saying no. “No thank you” is all the answer they need to give.
• Aim for enthusiastic consent.
• Practice giving enthusiastic consent: “YES! I’d LOVE to dance with you!” “I’d love to go for a walk!” “Wow, kissing you would be WONDERFUL!”
• Practice saying no, and practice saying “STOP”
• If someone says “stop!” – on or off the dance floor – you must stop immediately.
• Pay attention to your dance partners – be careful not to touch their ‘private’ zones, and take all care to avoid hurting them. Like Frankie said, they are the queen of the world (regardless of gender, leading or following).
We hope that our community is a place where everyone feels welcome and we want this feeling to continue. Take care of your friends; respect their boundaries and let’s have great dances – every time.