DFO’s Community Culture Committee (CCC) is hard at work continuing our Culture of Consent policies and working to increase diversity at our events. We hope by creating welcoming, inclusive spaces that individuals from all backgrounds will feel comfortable dancing and spending their time at DFO.
CCC spent a long time updating our Culture of Consent and Dance Etiquette documents to help dancers feel safer and know the general ways to help others feel comfortable dancing together. But we determined that sometimes participants don’t feel safe speaking up or sharing their concerns directly with other individuals or even with an organizer. We realized there was a need to have on-site support in difficult situations to help dancers feel welcome. Through discussion with several organizers of our events, we created a volunteer position called Safer Spaces Ambassadors which we are currently recruiting for. Ambassadors serve an important role at the events they already planned on attending. They sign up in advance to be the Ambassador at a particular event and then assist in welcoming newer participants, checking in with other participants about their experiences at the event (gathering feedback for the organizer), and communicating openly and clearly about our Culture of Consent if needed to prevent and address issues that may come up. Ambassadors are trained and work closely with the organizers at the event(s) where they sign up to serve in the role. We’d love to say this is a perfect plan, but know that everything is a process and hope you’ll support us in keeping our spaces fun and enjoyable for all who attend.
A second issue that came up during our Diversity discussions was the often overlooked Accessibility component. Many people aren’t aware of our dances, can’t physically get there because of transportation, or have issues when they do attend with their ability level. This can range from physical limitations like wheelchairs and crutches to hidden disabilities like mental challenges or health conditions. One way to address this is to help participants with the first barrier, getting to the event. Two of our monthly events, the Albany Contradance and Albany 1st Friday Swing Dance now have Carpool groups on Google that you can join and ask for/offer/arrange your own rides to those events. To Join the Carpool group for that event go to:
Once a member, you’ll be able to request or offer rides for those dances. Group members are responsible for arranging their own rides and assessing the comfort and safety of their carpool arrangements. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added directly if you don’t have a google account or are having trouble joining a group.
How you can help
We’re providing outreach to community organizations to build partnerships and host events with a variety of ages, races, sexual orientations, ability levels and other diverse groups. If you live, work, or play somewhere we should collaborate with, please email us! Finally, these are the ideas we’ve come up with, but what are yours? We’re all figuring this out one day at a time. If you want to take active steps to increase diversity in your dance/music community, take a look at our Diversity Action Plan worksheet below to develop your own ideas. Reach out to the DFO’s Community Culture Committee to see how you can help support our efforts. See you on the dance floor!