What is our Culture of Consent?
We strive for a strong culture of consent at all DFO events. All actions, on and off the dance floor, should be consensual. This includes “little” things like asking your partners if they wish to be dipped or picked up, and bigger things like not making unwanted advances on others. This goes for all genders, ages, races, abilities, etc. Please treat everyone with kindness and respect.
The DanceFlurry Organization is dedicated to making sure that our events are a safe and enjoyable experience for all attendees. We encourage you to assist us in this by modeling behavior that makes you feel comfortable and safe, asking others about their needs and preferences, and being open and communicative about your own. DFO is committed to doing the best we can. We are open to feedback on how we can continue to improve.
Please know that your event organizers value your safety more than your politeness, and you should feel empowered to leave any interaction at any time.
If you find yourself in a situation where you do not feel you are being treated appropriately by someone at the event, and you feel you need help managing the situation, please seek out a volunteer and ask for their help.
While we hope there will be no situations where this is needed, we are here to help and would like to create a safe space for everyone to dance and have fun!
How is it implemented?
We will aim to have two volunteers at each event who are trained to handle complaints and concerns. They will listen to you in a private space and discuss what steps to take. They may discuss your concerns anonymously with the other person(s) and take action if indicated. We will report it back to the DFO Board of Directors so we can do our best to ensure a safe environment. We will attempt to get both people’s contact information for future reference.
What to do if you have a concern or complaint:
If you find yourself in an uncomfortable or unsafe situation during a DFO event and would like organizers to be made aware or to intervene, please seek out one of the designated Safer Spaces Ambassadors for that event, recognizable by “Ambassador” name tag buttons and identifiable by door staff. These volunteers, and/or the event organizer, will:
- Speak privately with you outside of the main event area
- Ask for your description of what has occurred and ask clarifying questions to understand the details and nuance
- Take notes on your report, which will be kept confidential
- Request your name and contact information for an incident report, also to be kept confidential
- Ask what your current needs are, and what you would like in terms of resolution
- Offer you the support of other volunteers while the issue is being addressed
- Inform you of their intended next steps, and the range of possible outcomes
- Follow up with you after any intervention that may take place
- In event of an emergency or direct threat to safety, contact police
If you wish to make a report after an event, please send an email to email@example.com and you will be contacted for follow-up.
Download our DanceFlurry Organization Culture of Consent 2023.
Partial credit to: https://bigdamnbluesjam.weebly.com/safety-policy.html
One way to participants can model this behavior and help create a culture of Consent at our events is by reviewing the General Dance Etiquette listed below.
General Dance Etiquette
Here are some tips/suggestions to help you participate comfortably in our dance.
- Hygiene is important. You’ll be up close with many others. Do your part to avoid the spread of germs and wash/sanitize hands as needed.
- Avoid perfume or other scented products as some people are allergic.
- If you perspire heavily, bring clean shirts/tops to change into.
- Smooth, soft-soled shoes work best for dancing and help protect the floor. If you do not have shoes that are worn indoors only, wipe them thoroughly.
- When the caller or instructor is teaching, please be quiet and pay attention. You may not need the instruction, but others around you might.
- Dance moves should be led/offered verbally or non-verbally, not forced. Lifts and throws are not acceptable at a social dance. It helps to ask permission of your partner before doing any close embraces, twirls, or dips. If someone asks you to refrain from something, be courteous and cooperative. Handhold should be a connection, not a grip. The person who wants to let go should be able to.
- Adjust your dance style to your partner’s needs and abilities. Aim to accommodate your partner, whatever their gender, size, age, or level of experience. This could include moving slower, softer connection, avoiding an injured body part, and keeping your hands in the appropriate places.
- Mistakes are OK. When helping other dancers, keep the atmosphere light. New dancers will relax when they sense your enjoyment and that you are more interested in being part of the flow than in perfection. While dancing, do not give tips unless asked; limit your response to the question that was asked. You can ask for or offer to provide more general guidance at the beginning or end of a dance, but avoid unsolicited feedback.
- Finding partners. When looking for another partner after a dance ends, thoughtful dancers will look to the sidelines to see if there is someone who sat out the last dance who would like to dance the next. If you are an experienced dancer and notice new dancers, please ask them to dance. Your gesture will help a newcomer feel welcome in our dance community. Generally, dancers wait until a dance is over before asking someone for the next dance. Everyone has the right to decline to dance.
- If someone is interacting with you in a way that you are not comfortable with, let them know. If this doesn’t seem safe or doable, you have the right to remove yourself from the situation. Please alert a volunteer, and let them know if you would like them to intervene.
Traditional dancing is a social event, and not inherently romantic or sexual. You may attend with or without a partner. We want to keep the event safe for people of all ages, so please refrain from drug use, including excessive alcohol and tobacco.
Dance Etiquette at Particular Dances
- English Country Dance (ECD) & Contra take place in long lines. Couples join the line at the bottom, rather than inserting themselves in the middle or the top. If you need to drop out of a line mid-dance, try to do so when you reach the top or bottom. When joining a line, choose the shortest set to avoid overcrowding.
- Traveling Dances include traditional Cajun dances, the Cajun Waltz, One-Step, and Two-Step. In these dances the dancers travel around the floor in a counter clockwise direction. Turning is mostly, but not always, done at the corners of the floor, especially those corners of the floor on either side of the band.
- Waltz, Schottis, and Hambo are also traveling dances, often happening at the mid-dance break or at the end of a Contra Dance or English Country Dance (ECD). They also move counter-clockwise. Their movement differs slightly from the previously-mentioned dances, as couple turning takes place throughout the dance.
- In all of these traveling dances, always dance forward around the floor; don’t stop or go backward against the flow of the dance. If you need to stop, dance off the floor or move to the center; don’t block the travel lane. If things go wrong on the floor, for example, if you bump into another couple, apologize and make sure that nobody got hurt.
- Spot Dances include Swing, Cha-Cha, Rhumba, and Salsa, among others. Couples generally dance in their own space. At many swing dances almost everyone is doing swing, and the floor will be full. There likely will not be enough room for an outside traveling line, so the couples doing swing will find a suitable spot, making sure not to interfere with their neighbors. If you choose to do a traveling dance while others are doing a spot dance, you should aim to move around the outside, being aware of spot dancers as you go. If you are at a traveling dance event and choose to do a spot dance, stay in the center.
- As a courtesy to others and for the safety of all, if you are engaged in conversation and not dancing, please move off of the dance floor.
- Dancing should be fun and enjoyable. If your partner or anyone else is doing something that hurts or makes you uncomfortable or embarrassed, don’t hesitate to let them know. If the behavior persists or you feel unsafe asking them to change it, ask a volunteer at the event for further assistance.
We welcome feedback and input on these guidelines. They are a work in progress.