Code of Conduct

SFBayContra was created during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide a safe and fun environment for contra dancing in the Bay Area. For all of us to have fun, we must respect ourselves, the other dancers, the musicians, and the caller.

A few guidelines to help translate that into practice:

    • Ask a prospective partner respectfully. Accept their answer cheerfully. If someone repeatedly declines you, it is best to give them space.

    • All dancers should feel comfortable asking others to dance. Regardless of gender identification. Dancers should feel free to dance either role (lark – on the left or robin on the right). If you don’t already know which role your partner prefers, just ask before deciding to dance together. Once the dance has started, the rule of thumb is to “dance with whoever comes toward you in the line”. 

    • Feel free to decline a dance with someone with whom you feel uncomfortable (or for any reason). A simple “no thanks” is appropriate. We encourage you to dance with a variety of people both new and familiar, but your safety and comfort come first. Beginners are encouraged to ask experienced dancers to dance.

    • Dancing involves physical contact and eye contact, which can sometimes include flirtatious interaction. This behavior is part of the dance; it does not apply after the music has stopped. Be conscious of the personal space preferred by your partner and others that you come in contact with during the dance. ASK if you are not sure. Remember, flirtatious or close dancing does not give permission to act flirtatiously or closely with any fellow dancer in any other context.

    • Obtain consent:  In both dancing and socializing with fellow dancers, all interactions – especially physical – need to be respectful and mutually agreed upon.

    • Every dance move is an interaction between two or more people; invite another dancer in, do not force them. Use open-handed grips that are held together by the tension and input of both dancers; avoid grips that squeeze or encircle another person’s thumb, hand, wrist, or body in any way that they can’t escape, or that causes pain.

    • If you encounter a painful or uncomfortable situation in the middle of the dance, saying a firm “Ouch!” or “No!”, or “Stop that” can be the quickest way to indicate a problem. If you feel you are in immediate danger, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO LEAVE THE LINE. You are more important than the dance.

    • Each dancer has both the right and the responsibility to maintain control of their body. Do not lift another dancer off the floor, dip a dancer, or swing a dancer uber-fast without explicit permission. Avoid abrupt movements that may startle dancers, upset their balance, or cause pain or injury. 

    • No intoxication (e.g. high, drunk). If for any reason, you feel unusually unable to control your movement, sit out the dance.

    • Do not disparage others. 

    • Do not engage in illegal activities.

    • Please refrain from using scented products while attending our dances, as some of us are allergic. If another dancer’s scented products are bothering you please inform the dance manager/organizer.

    • Refrain from requesting modifications to the dance from the talent/sound tech people. They are busy working and can’t interact with dancers while they work. If something isn’t meeting your expectations please report to the dance manager or board member/organizer who will decide what to do. Please respect their decision.

    • Listen to the caller; do not talk over them during the walk through.

Violating any of these rules may result in a verbal warning. More serious offenses may include suspension or banning from dances.

If you feel that someone at an SFBayContra dance has violated these guidelines or has otherwise made you feel uncomfortable or unwelcome please speak directly to that person if it feels safe to do so. You can also speak with the dance manager or one of the dance organizers (the person sitting at the door can help you find them).

(Adapted from the BACDS’, NBCDS’, & the Portland Country Dance Society’s Codes of Conduct.)

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