The Lindy Hop community is a fun and joyful one where people can meet, interact, and dance with others. Despite being a generally positive community, in any community there can be unfortunate situations that arise, whether intentional or unintentional. The goal of this Code of Conduct is to spread awareness so we can grow together and be mindful of ourselves and others in order to create a more positive experience for everyone. The policies set forth attempt to provide clear guidelines and expectations to every person who participates in or simply attends one of our events. It also addresses the consequences of unacceptable behavior.
The foundation of this code is that in order to help all participants make the most of classes, events, and social dances, the organizers are committed to providing a friendly, safe, and inclusive environment for all – regardless of age, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, race, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, disability, religion, or other status.
This code of conduct applies to organizers, Bent’s staff, instructors, students, and all other attendees. By attending an event you agree to be subject to this Code of Conduct.
Swing dancing is a social dance where we dance with others whom we may or may not know. We expect you to be considerate and respectful of yourself, your partners, and others. We expect you to refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech.
Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participants (this is called “floor craft”): alert staff if you notice a dangerous situation or someone in distress.
Every interaction at our events, including classes or social dances, needs to happen with consent from both parties at the beginning of and during each dance or interaction. Consent can be withdrawn by either party at any time and for any reason or no reason.
All dancing is done by mutual consent. When you ask somebody to dance, make sure you leave space for them to agree or decline your request – and politely accept either answer. Some people prefer to be asked verbally (or sign language as appliable) and not only through body language; ask for clarification if your partner’s answer or body language is not clear to you. To wordlessly request a dance just by extending your hand and waiting expectantly can come across as imperious or demanding. No one has the prerogative to retain someone in a dancing partnership or position, or attempt to preclude their partner from separating from them and leaving a dance, or prevent someone from leaving any interaction.
It’s okay to say no to a dance. It is okay to tell your partner if something makes you uncomfortable in any way. It is okay to tell you partner something they are doing is causing pain or physical discomfort. You should be aware of your partner, and if you suspect they are uncomfortable you should check in with them. If something doesn’t feel right, please speak up. Make sure to make room for your partners to speak up as well. It is okay to discontinue dancing with a partner once the dance has started. At any point you can inform your partner that you will take a break; and the other partner is required to accommodate you.
Unacceptable Behavior: How to Recognize it and How to React
Examples of unacceptable behavior include intimidating, harassing, abusive, discriminatory, derogatory, or demeaning conduct.
Harassment of any kind is unacceptable, such as (but not limited to):
- Offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, religion;
- deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following,
- harassing with photography or recording,
- inappropriate physical contact,
- unwanted sexual attention or language
- inappropriate or overly suggestive dancing
- failure to obtain consent for a dance (including continuing to dance with someone for an additional song after one song ends without asking first)
How do I recognize this?
For Yourself: Anything that doesn’t feel good can be questioned. If something doesn’t feel right to you but you aren’t sure, you can check in with a staff member for clarification. Regardless of others’ opinions, if you don’t like something you should not feel that you are expected or required to endure it.
For Others: Anytime someone is not giving you enthusiastic consent, make room for them to speak up. Anytime someone’s body language is not clear, you might ask for clarification. When you feel someone is uncomfortable in a situation you are not a part of, add your support so the uncomfortable party can voice their preferences. If you see or experience something potentially uncomfortable, and you aren’t sure if it’s okay, you can ask a staff member.
What should I do if something’s not right? How should I react?
- Talk to the person if you feel able to do so. Honesty is the best communication tool we have. Try to speak openly, directly, from your own perspective. Try to come directly to the point addressing the immediate issue. E.g. “I feel pain in my right shoulder when we dance these kinds of movements,” or “I feel very uncomfortable when your hand is that low and I’m not sure what your intentions are,” or, “Your pulling feels aggressive and is uncomfortable, can you be less forceful,” or, “I would rather not get help with my footwork or learn a new pattern. Let’s just do our best.”
- Talk to the staff. Please talk to someone you trust on the team, whether a dance organizer or a venue staff member. Let us know if you feel that a person tends to dance in a dangerous way and you’re scared to get hurt, or if that person tends to be suggestive, or flirty in an uncomfortable way, etc.
What staff is committed to do.
The staff is committed to listen to you, support you, and act. They will work hard to provide a safe and comfortable experience even with difficult issues. They will offer you support while at the same time being fair. Support can be helping you process a situation, or helping you with guidance on how to talk to someone about a behavior or scenario that you feel uncomfortable with, or support can be talking to the other party directly, with or without your presence.
We reserve the right to share information concerning specific incidents with other dance organizations. We reserve the right to ask attendees for identification.
Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior
Where possible we will give the person engaging in unacceptable behavior a chance to correct their behavior by making them aware of it. We will ask them to change that behavior and explain what the consequences are if they do not.
Consequences of not changing behavior can include, and aren’t limited to, one or more of the following:
- being asked to leave the event, class or social dance
- exclusion from one or more future events
- banning from all future events
- contacting local authorities
- A person does aerials unsafely on the social dance floor.
- First, we make them aware and ask them to stop.
- Second, if they don’t comply, we explain to them that we might have to exclude them from our social dances.
- Third, if they still don’t comply, we exclude them.
- A person assaults a partner or another participant or staffperson either physically or verbally.
- They are removed and will likely be banned from future events.
- Authorities may be notified.
Please note our staff might ask you if they can involve another team member if they feel that others can handle the situation better. In some rare situations we may feel strongly that the person will not be successful changing their behavior and would cause disruption to the comfort and enjoyment of others. In those instances they may be asked to leave and not return immediately, instead of being given a second chance.
Etiquette and Best Practice
- When you ask somebody to dance, make sure you leave space for them to agree or turn down your request.
- Try your best to always verbally ask for a dance and get a verbal response.
- Thank your partner after a dance, unless their conduct was clearly unacceptable.
- Do not give dancing feedback or express critique, unless someone asks for it, or their dancing is causing some type of discomfort or danger to you or others.
- Apologize if you step on, hit, or in some other way collide with anyone on or off the dance floor, and, where possible, check in with them to make sure they are unhurt.
In order to dance together, we typically connect physically. Here are some things to consider when connecting with your partner.
- Be careful not to hold on too tight to or pull or push your partner in uncomfortable ways when performing dance moves.
- Be careful not to perform moves that might bend your partner’s arm in uncomfortable ways.
- If you feel uncomfortable with the connection you have with your partner (because it’s painful, awkward, too personal, etc.), please let them know so they can adapt their connection.
- If your partner tells you the connection feels uncomfortable for them, be open to changing what you are doing and work together so that both of you are comfortable.
- Swing dancing can get hot and sweaty. Come to events clean, showered, and wearing clean, presentable clothing
- Use deodorant, and use breath mints or chewing gum.
- Bring a spare shirt or two and/or a towel.
- No aerials above the waist are allowed on the social dance floor.
- Refrain from large kicks or steps when you cannot see where you’re going.
- Practice good floor craft, meaning watch out for your fellow dancers (both followers and leaders).
- If you collide with someone, make sure they are unhurt before you continue dancing.
Although we don’t prohibit photography or videography at our events you should be considerate of others when filming or taking photos. Here are some things to consider:
- Live streaming is not allowed without expressed consent by event organizers.
- Do not post videos focusing mainly on someone you don’t know without their consent.
- Keep your video short, under 2 minutes. Recording long segments or the entire event is inappropriate.
- When participating in a jam circle or line dance, you should not be surprised if someone films you and posts it.
- If you see someone taking photos or videos and you don’t want photo or video of you taken, then let them know.
- Be respectful and compliant if someone specifically asks you not to take a photo or video of them.
Be aware that the event organizers will sometimes capture event footage and that your likeness, image, voice, appearance, dancing, and/or performance may be captured as part of this footage and used for marketing or other purposes. By attending, you grant, without limitation, to the organizer right to edit, mix, or duplicate the recording. The event organizer shall maintain complete ownership of the recording, including copyright interests. By attending the event, you grant the organizers the right to use the recording for promoting, publicizing, or other purposes. The event organizers have no financial commitment or obligations to event attendees regarding the recording. The event organizers will try to accommodate requests to limit the amount of recording done of an attendee but cannot guarantee that their likeness will not end up as a part of one or more recordings.
Please provide us feedback on this code of conduct or anything to do with our events or policies. We want to learn and grow with you and create an even more enjoyable experience for everyone.