Code of Conduct
Our mission at Swing Nights is to inspire, to pass on our knowledge and love of Swing to future generations, and to build a strong nurturing Community based on the principles inherent in Jazz music and Swing dance: Rhythm, Connection, Improvisation, and Self-Expression.
We aim to provide a safe space for everyone to come together, celebrate life through quality of movement, connection, and touch. Through dance, we can explore individuality and movement in a non-judgmental way and unwind from the troubles in our lives with genuine fun.
We're committed to building a Community on the dance floor that can bolster our daily lives. The dance brings together people socially from all walks of life, generations, and people groups, and can tie us together in a bond that can elevate everyone both on and off the dance floor.
We are committed to continually learning and bringing the highest quality of instruction to our students, who always come first. We have a passion for documenting and preserving the good times we have together through photography and video.
Practicing good personal hygiene is important and is especially appreciated when interacting closely with other people like we often do as dancers. We suggest wearing deodorant, bathing regularly, brushing your teeth, bringing a breath mint or chewing gum to the dance, and perhaps bringing an extra shirt (or two) to change into. If you use perfume or cologne, consider wearing it sparingly, as some people have sensitivities to certain scents.
Asking someone to dance/turning down a dance
It is always your choice whether or not you’d like to dance with someone. When asking someone to dance, it’s best to ask politely for verbal confirmation, while always allowing the person you’re asking an easy way out. A simple “Would you like to dance?” should suffice. "No Thank You," is a perfectly acceptable response to this question without any need for any further explanation, and it should never be taken personally. And of course, "Absolutely! Yes!" is another route.
To reiterate: if you are being asked to dance, you are under no obligation to comply, and rejection should never be taken personally. If you are turning down a dance, remember that it often takes a lot of guts to ask, and so it’s best to be kind. It’s often seen as rude if you turn down a dance and then immediately ask someone else to dance during the same song, so it’s better to be direct, “I’m sorry, but I was going to dance with…” or just let them know that you’re sitting the song out.
If someone has rejected a dance with you twice in a night, take the hint, and don’t ask a third time. Better yet, if someone has said "No" once, let them approach you the next time when they're ready to dance, and if you're turning down a request but would like to dance later on, letting a person know that can avoid any confusion.
Dancing with everyone
We encourage everyone to dance with each other. It’s standard to dance with a partner for a single song, but it’s unreasonable to keep asking over and over. Of course you may dance together again if you BOTH wish to do so, but be aware that everyone has their own plans of who they'd like to dance with, so don't latch onto someone and ask them to dance repeatedly in one night… if they want another dance with you, they’ll seek you out. It's important to be considerate of people's time and to give them the space and freedom to fill up their own “Dance Cards” however they'd like.
Floorcraft is the concept of being in control of your dancing and reducing the size of your movements according to the space available. It’s also about keeping your partner and everyone around you safe. Simply put, the more people in the room, the smaller your dancing should be. Be aware of your surroundings at all times as you dance and especially when the floor is crowded keeping your movements small so as not to kick anyone. If you accidentally bump into someone, don’t ignore it, acknowledge it and apologize with a simple head nod or a “Sorry!”.
Unsolicited Dance Advice
Please don't give people dance advice or criticism when they haven't EXPLICITLY asked you for it. If they have asked you for feedback, consider using the 1:1 ratio of saying one thing positive for each suggested improvement. Also, if you are going to have a conversation after a dance, it's polite to step off of the dance floor to do so. The only appropriate time for unsolicited dance advice is if your partner is causing you physical or emotional discomfort, then PLEASE speak up and let your partner know right away.
Don’t use offensive language or say things that insult or marginalize others. Homophobic, misogynist, transphobic, ableist, and racist language and slurs are completely inappropriate as well.
Appropriate touch/respecting boundaries
Respect the physical and personal boundaries of everyone on and off the dance floor. Realize that it is possible to make others uncomfortable even without intending to, which is why one should always ask for permission from others before touching, hugging, cuddling, tickling, poking, prodding, or other seemingly innocent forms of physical contact. Only a verbal “yes” means “yes.”
Dating in the dance scene
You’re bound to meet some wonderful people in the dance scene, however our community isn’t a meat market for hooking up. Sexual advances and/or manipulation of any kind are not tolerated. If you ask someone out, be prepared for rejection and to take it graciously. If you've asked someone out once and they've said "no", continuing to do so is harassing behavior. If you date someone in the community, be prepared to share the space if the relationship doesn’t work out. Also, looking for a dance partner shouldn’t be misconstrued as looking for a romantic relationship. Dancing is just dancing, and the touch involved in partner dancing should be appropriate to the dance and your partner’s personal boundaries.
Verbal, physical, and sexual assault will not be tolerated. If you feel unsafe, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please notify Swing Nights or Mercury Cafe staff immediately. We all need to be active participants in keeping our class, dance, and team environments safe. It’s up to all of us to create a space where everyone feels comfortable and free to express themselves through this wonderful language of partner dance.
If there is a complaint of harassment, we may ask the accused individual to adjust their behavior or leave the building. In the case of a prolonged harassment issue or an assault, we may enforce a temporary ban from all dances and events hosted by Swing Nights. We will speak to both parties involved before making a final assessment. The result may be an agreed upon plan with the goal of slowly integrating the accused individual back into the scene, or the result may be a permanent ban of the accused individual.
At Swing Nights we believe that everyone’s voice matters and everyone’s life matters. We believe it’s important to hear both sides of every story and to invest the time and effort needed to bring support, healing, and growth to each individual. While we believe in the power of conflict resolution, we also know that it isn’t possible for every situation. We will not tolerate assault of any kind in our place of dance. Safety will always be our Number One priority.
Together, through respect and honest conversation, we can create a friendly, supportive, and safe environment for everyone.
If you have any concerns, you can send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org, or let us know anonymously by using the form below.