It’s super important to us that everyone feels they can have an awesome time when they’re dancing, and that means feeling comfortable and safe. For us to try our hardest to make sure that happens, we have a code of conduct.
Why do we need a Code of Conduct?
A code of conduct is there to make sure everyone attending our Thursday classes or an event is on the same page. We all have different experiences, beliefs and ideas about what’s acceptable, and so we want to make sure that we have a shared understanding of what’s okay. It means that we have something to use as a reference point in the event that we need to talk to somebody about their behaviour. We hope it also sends out a message to those who might experience some of these things that we’ve got their back.
The Code of Conduct
The following applies to everyone involved with Edinburgh Swing Dance Society: dancers, volunteers, teachers, visiting teachers and musicians.
There’s room for all of us on the dance floor.
We welcome everyone regardless of gender/gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, religion, age, employment status, dance ability or dance role.
Dance roles aren’t gender specific.
We encourage all dancers to have the choice of following, leading or both. We recommend asking someone which role they would like to dance when you ask them. Try not to assume someone’s dance role based on their appearance.
Mind Your Words.
Do not use misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or racist language or behaviour. Respect the culture and experiences of other people. This includes things like wearing t-shirts with offensive words or images on.
Our bodies are super important.
Respect the bodies of other people. Partner dancing can involve close contact with others and we must respect each others’ personal boundaries. Ask for permission before touching someone, or dancing with them in close embrace. If someone tells you that you are making them feel uncomfortable, or they seem uncomfortable dancing with you, stop what you’re doing. If anyone is making you feel uncomfortable, you have the right to tell them, and to stop immediately.
Be OK with people saying no.
If you ask someone to dance and they say “No thank you,” be cool with that; they don’t have to give a reason. Reply, “Hey, no worries – find me later if you change your mind!” and move on to ask someone else. No one is obliged to dance with you. You can ask anyone to dance, regardless of your/their gender, age or role. When someone asks you to dance, 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. You don’t have to give a reason; you don’t owe anyone your time. If someone asks you to dance and you do want to, say “YES please!” Nothing is better than enthusiastic consent!
Be considerate with your personal care.
Swing dancing can get sweaty, and involves close contact with other people – so think of others. Think about showering before the dance, using breath mints, and wearing deodorant. Consider bringing a towel and some spare shirts, and changing throughout the night. Try not to wear anything that might hurt others on the dance floor, particularly if you spin while close to them.
Don’t pull aerials or dips that take people off their balance on the social dance floor. Save those things for jam circles and performances, and check in before each time you try them out. Just because someone was okay with something once, doesn’t mean they always will be in the future.
Don’t give unsolicited feedback.
Unless they specifically ask for feedback, don’t correct someone’s dancing on the social dance floor. Parties are for partying! The exception to this is if someone is dancing in a way which is hurting you or making you feel uncomfortable. In class, ask whether someone is interested in receiving feedback before offering it. Be considerate in the way you give feedback.
Pay attention to your dance partners.
Be careful not to touch their ‘private’ zones, and take all care to avoid hurting them. If you accidentally swipe somewhere you didn’t mean to, be sure to apologise. If this happens repeatedly you will be warned or asked to leave.
Take it easy on the booze!
If you’re at one of our events where alcohol can be consumed, be sure your consumption stays safe and comfortable for both you and others. If your state give us cause for concern, we may ask you to leave. If you provide alcohol to an under 18 on our watch we will definitely ask you to leave.
If we have reason to be concerned about your behaviour, we will talk about it with you and may give you a warning. If your behaviour continues after a warning, or if you harass or cause anyone to feel unsafe, you may be asked to leave. We might ban you from future events and, in discussion with the complainant, we may report you to the police. We don’t have to give you a second chance.
Did we mention we’ve got your back?
Whether you need medical attention, need a friendly face, or you would like to talk to someone about another dancer or attendee’s behaviour – we’re here.
We will always do our best to prioritise the wishes of the reporter when dealing with a report.
If you need help during an event at any time, please ask one of the Committee, or our volunteers. These people will be wearing orange name badges, instead of the white name badges worn by the majority of our dancers. You can speak to any of us, or we can point out our designated Safer Spaces person. You can speak to us privately about anything that has bothered you. We will listen to you non-judgmentally and take you seriously. We will keep everything you tell us confidential, unless you say otherwise (or if you tell us that someone is at risk of significant harm, by law, we may have to pass that information on).
You can also contact us anonymously on email@example.com
(This code of conduct is adapted from Highland Swing’s code of conduct, which was inspired by Sam at Swing Dance Sydney. We thank them for their hard work in creating this code and for their kind permission to use it for ESDS.)