Dancing is most enjoyable when everyone feels comfortable. Here are a few pointers on contra dance conduct.
Respect other dancers’ personal space and boundaries. Be aware of your partner, the space, people around you, and yourself. Be attentive to signs of injury, physical limitations, and preferences and limits for style, speed, and closeness.
Anyone can ask anyone to dance. Ask kindly, and accept or refuse as you wish. A simple “no thanks” suffices, and should be respected.
Dancing involves physical contact and eye contact, and can feel flirtatious. Flirting during a dance can be fun, but should not be taken as an invitation to intimacy either during or outside the dance. If someone seems uncomfortable (as evidenced by body tension, pulling away, or facial expression), or you don’t know them well, avoid flirting and allow a generous margin of personal space.
All dance moves, especially flourishes, should happen by mutual agreement. Invite (by gently guiding) the other dancer, do not insist or use force. Use open-handed grips that can easily be released; tight handgrips can cause pain or injury.
If you encounter a painful or uncomfortable situation during the dance, saying a firm “ouch”, “no”, or “stop that” can be the quickest way to indicate a problem. If you feel that you are in immediate danger, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO LEAVE THE LINE. You are more important than the dance. Your safety and comfort come first.
If you feel that someone has violated these guidelines or has otherwise made you feel uncomfortable or unwelcome, please report it to a dance manager or board member.
Remember: If you would warn your friends to avoid someone, it is worth reporting. We don’t know there is a pattern of inappropriate behavior unless people report single incidents. The TDSC Board will be responsible for tracking conduct concerns. If a concern is raised about a particular dancer, there will first be a verbal notification that the individual’s behavior has made someone feel uncomfortable. The TDSC board members and dance manager(s) reserve the right to remove any individual from any dance — and future dances as well– at any time, for any reason.
Have fun! We are all here to have fun. We hope you do! Please join us.