NYC West Coast Swing Code of Conduct

CODE OF CONDUCT & COMMUNITY STANDARDS 

Last updated: 9/26/2022

General Policy 

The New York City West Coast Swing Community is committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for learning and socializing in dance. We strive to create an inclusive community that welcomes all people regardless of their backgrounds, identities, races, bodies, ages, religions, sexual orientations, genders, disabilities, and dance experience or abilities. To that end, we will not tolerate any discrimination or harassment of any kind. To meet these community standards, we require all participants, including attendees, instructors, volunteers, and staff members at our events to comply with the following code of conduct. The New York City West Coast Swing Community organizers and staff will oversee the enforcement of this code. 

Code of Conduct 

The following code summarizes the expected behaviors from all attendees at any events hosted or sponsored by The New York City West Coast Swing Community. 

  • Be mindful of your words and actions. Microaggressions and use of misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or racist language will not be tolerated. 
  • Be responsible for your own actions and be aware that your actions have an effect on others, despite what your intentions may be. Listen and change your behavior if someone tells you that you are making them uncomfortable. There are times that the actions we take or words we speak may show a lack of understanding and compassion for those around us. That does not inherently make us a “bad person,” but we all must commit to learning about and growing for our fellow human beings. To continue to make the same mistakes, maliciously or through complacency, prevents people from finding comfort and ultimately damages the community. 
  • Do not engage in any illegal behavior during our event or on the event property. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of recreational drugs, underaged drinking, and stealing.
  • Harassment will not be tolerated in any form, including verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual harassment. Persistent and unwelcome attention is considered harassment and will be treated as such. Additionally, any situation which makes another person feel unsafe or uncomfortable to the point of being unable to enjoy the event is unacceptable and can be considered harassment. While harassment is not always done intentionally, offending participants are still expected to correct their behaviors if told to do so and may even be asked to leave without refund or compensation. 
    • Verbal or emotional harassment includes, but is not limited to, 
      • offensive comments about a person’s identity, race, age, physical appearance, sexuality, gender, disability, religion, or dance ability; 
      • demanding a dance from someone; 
      • talking over, heckling, or causing deliberate disruption during a dance event or lesson; 
      • deliberate intimidation or threats; 
      • unwelcome, offensive, or hostile facial expressions or body gestures; 
      • referring to an individual’s gender/race/sexual orientation/religion in negative, vulgar, or derogatory terms;
      • unwelcome or coerced sexual/romantic relations or approaches; 
      • lewd, vulgar, or sexually suggestive comments or jokes. 
    • Physical and non-verbal harassment includes, but is not limited to, 
      • touching another participant in a sexual or inappropriate manner that is squarely outside the contact expected from a given partner dance; 
      • deliberate physical contact on another participant in an area they clearly asked you or warned you not to touch; 
      • pushing, shoving, or purposefully bumping into a person; 
      • intentional acts of physical intimidation (e.g. blocking someone’s path); 
      • stalking; 
      • ogling an individual, regardless of the clothing they are wearing; 
      • physical contact that physically hurts or injures another participant; 
      • unsolicited photography or video recording of a participant. 
  • General Dancer Etiquette is encouraged and expected from all event attendees and staff: 
    • Anyone may ask anyone else for a dance. Dancers are encouraged to ask all dancing participants at events to a dance, regardless of dance level. In general, when asking people to dance, use your words, not physical actions. At the end of a dance, remember to thank your partner! 
    • Respect the right of other dancers to decline an invitation to dance. Everyone reserves the right to decline a dance - without reason - at any time. That includes stopping a dance that has already started if at any point they would like to stop. While you do not need to provide any reason for choosing to decline or stop a dance, please be courteous when declining. 
    • Do NOT give unsolicited advice, lessons, or feedback to other dancers during any lessons or social dances. This includes, but is not limited to, advice on dance technique, facial expressions (i.e. smile!), fashion/clothing - regardless of intention. You may ask for feedback on your dancing, but it should not be expected, and there is no guarantee that feedback is “correct” for you. 
      • However, if your dance partner is doing something to cause you harm or hurt you during a dance, please speak up and let them know. If a person is consistently dancing in a dangerous way, bring it to their attention or let the staff know. 
    • Respect other people’s boundaries inside and outside of a dance. Be attentive towards the level of physical closeness or proximity that your partner wants to maintain during the dance. If unsure, ask! 
      • Apologize if you cross a boundary, avoid belittling, denying, or gaslighting your partner’s experience, and ask consent for anything you think may cross a boundary. 
      • Always receive consent to lead weighted moves (such as dips). 
      • If you feel uncomfortable during a dance, do not hesitate to inform your partner, or leave the dance if necessary.
      • Consent to dance closely does not also imply consent for any romantic advances off the dance floor. 
    • Be aware of others on a crowded dance floor, and do your best to avoid collisions and injuries. Both dance partners should take responsibility for protecting themselves and each other during the dance. Be prepared to stop in case of a possible collision. If one occurs, apologize and make sure everyone involved is okay. Injuries should be reported to a staff member if first aid is needed. 
    • Do not do any aerials or lifts while on the dance floor or in the event venue/property in order to avoid possible injuries to yourself, your partner, or others around you. Aerials and lifts are only allowed during scheduled performances by professional dancers. 
    • Maintain good personal hygiene. Shower before attending events, brush and floss your teeth, and always bring a backup shirt (or two!) and change if you begin to sweat. Frequent hand washing or use of hand sanitizer is strongly encouraged throughout the evening. We encourage avoiding strong scents like perfume or cologne as other dancers may have sensitivities.
    • Lead/Follow Policy - Anyone may lead, follow, or switch dance roles in a dance. Please ask if you are unsure of someone’s role and respect their choice. Equivalently, no dancer is tied to a given role for every dance throughout the event duration. You may choose to lead, follow, or switch dance roles for each dance you participate in. Communicate with your partners on which role they prefer.

Enforcement and Reporting 

  • Reporting - Please help us help you! Participants who feel they have been wronged or feel they have witnessed wrongdoing during an event hosted by The New York City West Coast Swing Community are responsible for reporting the incident to the event staff. Your courage in coming forward can keep similar incidents from being repeated. While staff members do their best to survey the environment during an event, they are unable to spot every possible occurrence. All reports will be confidential and, if possible, conversations will take place in private. Names will not be disclosed by staff members unless there is explicit permission granted or if it is a matter of immediate danger.
  • Enforcement - Event organizers and staff are responsible for enforcing the code of conduct. Anyone asked to stop inappropriate behavior is expected to do so immediately, whether it be from a fellow participant, a staff member, or the event organizer. If this is not satisfied, the event organizer or staff member may enforce the code. Enforcement can be as minimal as a quick reminder in private about our code and as maximal as being asked to leave the event without any form of refund or compensation, and being banned from future events. The severity of punishment is related to the nature and frequency of the offense, and is left to the enforcing event organizer’s or staff member’s discretion. Repeat and frequent offenses from an individual may result in expulsion or ban from any and all hosted or sponsored events by The New York City West Coast Swing Community.
  • Your actions on and off the dance floor, as well as outside of our dance events, have an impact on others. If you engage in behavior that violates this code of conduct outside of a dance event, including online, this will negatively impact our dance community, and in exceptional cases may result in being banned from future events.

Sources & References 

This document was adopted by the New York City West Coast Swing Community from the code of conduct developed by Mara Flores for The Jam - Modern Swing Dance Club, with extensive research and reference to code of conducts and etiquette guides from various entities, including the Swing Dance Club at UMD, DC Lindy Exchange, Mobtown Ballroom, Wild Wild Westie, and the Holy Lindy Land Team, and more.