Tag Archives: safe spaces

Pro Tip: Don’t Presume

From a Facebook post: “Pro tip for new dancers: Please do not walk up to random women and say ‘Since you were just standing there, I figured you might as well teach me!'”

This unfortunately happened at Wednesday Night Hop the other evening. What bothers me most is the way this person presented their desire. His approach removed consent and is not condoned by our organization.

We have staff that will facilitate end goals such as learning a new move (teachers during the lessons), acquiring a drink (bar staff), dancing to a song (requesting via the DJ), or knowing where our class series are held (front door staff). However, we still expect our attendees to be polite, to not presume, and to ask questions that allow a “yes,” “no” or further information.

It illustrates why we must continue integrating consent into our 6-week sessions and drop-in classes at WNH along with the importance of hosting our first scene-wide Pro-Social Behavior Workshop March 3. It’s also why we’ll have this awesome dance etiquette illustration at our events.

Question on Possible Perpetrator Restrictions

In a world where 7 out of 10 rapes are committed by someone known to the victim, is it enough for dance venues to restrict known perpetrators of sexual violence to just dancing with people they know? It’s a valid question especially when some venues don’t want to ban someone without incontrovertible proof such as a firsthand account from the survivor, a legal conviction or restraining order.

I get that. I can understand that. What I don’t quite understand is desiring an accused perpetrator’s attendance over a survivor’s attendance?

Code of Conduct

Need Help?

Swingin’ Denver is here to support you if you are injured, feel threatened or unsafe, or wish to make us aware of inappropriate behavior at our event. Please don’t hesitate to contact us via any of the following channels:

  • The individual running the front desk, or the Swingin’ Denver event host
  • Kenny Nelson – (720) 336-3440
  • Kenny Nelson – info@swingindenver.com

If you wish to remain anonymous, you may use this form.

Your safety at our events is of utmost important to us; we want to hear from you!

If someone approaches you with concerns about something they’ve experienced or observed at our events, please encourage them to contact us so that we can address the problem.

Swingin’ Denver will stand by and support you to the best of our abilities.

Mission Statement

Swingin’ Denver is passionate about sharing the amazing experience of Swing dancing with as many people as possible! We hold dear the tradition of authentic jazz, the connection between the music and social dance, and the unique creative expression these art forms make possible. Our events are hosted with the goal of every attendee having a blast! Our Code of Conduct exists to support that goal, and to inform our attendees of the procedures we have in place to help ensure a safe environment for them.

Code of Conduct

We are committed to hosting safe events for our attendees, staff, and performers. “Safe spaces” has become something of a buzzword in both the Swing dance community as well as the general population of late, so we want to be clear about what we mean by a safe space. It’s simple: Everyone at our events deserves to feel not only safe, but protected. Behavior contrary to this outcome will be treated as a matter of priority and addressed according to procedures outlined below.

Just as everyone deserves to feel safe and respected, so must everyone take responsibility for making others feel safe and respected. To that end, here are some suggestions from us to help you do your part to create a safe space:

Use respectful language: This means not using racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist or transphobic language, sexualised, rude or violent language, or language designed to make another person feel uncomfortable or inferior

Be respectful of personal space: Do not touch someone else without first asking. Do not touch anyone inappropriately.

Stop touching someone if they ask or tell you to.

Only closely embrace someone with their consent.

Attempt aerials responsibly. On the social floor, stick to tricks that can be socially lead and followed, with familiar partners. In a performance, competition, or jam circle, ensure you have consent to perform an aerial with every partner, every time.

Attempt tricks responsibly. On the social floor, be sure to ask permission before leading or following any tricks, including lifts, drops and dips. Just as you’re able to change a pattern to avoid hitting someone nearby, we would expect you to do adapt your trick for the ever-changing dynamics of the social dance floor. If you cannot, don’t lead or follow it.

Be proactive about keeping your dance partner comfortable. Watch for body language cues or check in verbally with your partner.

It is your right to refuse any dance, for any reason at any time.

It is your right to stop dancing with someone at any point for any reason.

There are many additional ways to help create a safe space, and we encourage you to consider the above to be the bare minimum! Swingin’ Denver strongly supports anyone who feels violated or victimized at one of our events. We are looking out for our attendees. Especially in cases of sexual harassment or assault, our policy is to believe and support the person who felt targeted. Keep your own behavior above reproach, and always be explicit about asking for or giving consent.

Procedures for Violation of Code of Conduct

When an individual is accused of violating this code, Swingin’ Denver may take any or all of the following steps:

  • Privately discuss the report with the individual concerned, and request that the behavior be stopped immediately.
  • Ask the individual to leave an event. (No reimbursement will be paid to those asked to leave for a conduct violation.)
  • Refuse an individual the opportunity to attend future events
  • Legal action

When an individual reports a violation, Swingin’ Denver may take any or all of the following steps:

  • Request a private conversation with the reporting individual
  • Inquire about specific details of the incident(s)
  • Share details about the reported event with necessary Swingin’ Denver staff, and, if necessary, law enforcement
  • Inquire about what outcome the reporting individual desires
  • Follow up with the reporting individual periodically

Our top priority following a report will be to restore the safety of our event attendees.

Our Safe Space Pledge

From our original “Our Pledge” post published February 4, 2015.

Swingin’ Denver’s Pledge and Expectations
We at Swingin’ Denver want you to have a good time learning from us and dancing at our venues. We believe that learning should be fun, that students should dance a lot in our classes to great swing music, that our dance venues are about showcasing our swing dance community, and that we should share America’s dance, the lindy hop, with the greater public.

Our dances and classes are a safe space where we respect our fellow dancers and students. With that goal in mind, no matter where we teach, learn and/or perform, Swingin’ Denver representatives and students pledge to follow this basic Code of Conduct: Treat each other with respect.

Our Expectations:
– Regardless of your age, conduct yourself well. Basically, try to be kind, give people the benefit of the doubt, and own your actions. Our expectations of this include:
-Arrive early to class. We love starting class on time with fun warmups.
– Please do not give unsolicited feedback to other dancers.
– Turn off or silence all mobile devices before class.
– Consider that all dance partnerships in class are for dancing only and be friendly and courteous with each. Classes are not designed for scoping out individuals to date.
– Please be respectful to venue staff. Without them, Swingin’ Denver would not be able to provide such high-quality, hip and interesting venues for you to enjoy swing dancing and time with friends.
– Please ask people to dance by using your words, such as “Would you like to dance?” instead of silently offering your hand.
– At dances, you may say “no” to a dance request. You do not have to say “yes,” but can politely decline when someone asks you to dance. Read more at Bobby White’s Swungover blog post called “Swing 101 — Etiquette & Floorcraft” or check out this awesome graphic by Holy Lindy Land.
– Please consider appropriate hygiene. Common recommendations are showering before the class or dance, wearing deodorant, brushing teeth, wearing clean clothes, bringing extra shirts to change into. Try to refrain from abundant use of pungent colognes or perfumes as some people have sensitive noses.

We condemn harassing and/or rude behavior:
Swingin’ Denver is dedicated to providing a harassment-free environment. This applies equally to every participant. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. Assault of any kind has zero tolerance at Swingin’ Denver. We will not hesitate to remove offenders or ban them from future events we host, organize or are responsible for. If you see or experience any harassing behavior by students, observers or teachers, please find your Swingin’ Denver teacher or organizer or contact them here. We will take care of it in a discrete, yet firm and professional manner.

Alcohol Policy:
Alcohol is served at a few Swingin’ Denver venues. By attending The Arvada Tavern, The Infinite Monkey Theorem, The Big Wonderful, and/or any other future venues, it is understood that alcohol is available to adults 21 and older. You also agree never to drive a vehicle while under the influence. We are happy to call a cab for you. We do not support underage drinking or intoxication, and we particularly do not condone giving any minors alcohol (this falls under “uncoolness/harassment”). While we would like you to drink alcohol if you so desire, there is no pressure to do so. Alcohol-free options are always available (water, at the very least).

Our Neighborhoods:
Our venues are mostly situated inside some public venues such as The Arvada Tavern, The Infinite Monkey Theorem, The Savoy, and DADA Art Bar. When heading outside the dance space, please respect the venue’s patrons and staff members, and keep noise to a minimum. Generally, you can often find street parking, but if there are exceptions, we’ll try to post about it on our Facebook events. If you are leaving late at night and would like a walk to your car, talk to any staff member and we’d be happy to arrange it for you.