Edinburgh University Swing Dance Society (EUSDS) classes and events are for everyone to attend and enjoy. We are committed to keeping our scene safe and welcoming. To do this, we request you respect the following statements. If you are unable to respect our Code of Conduct, you may be asked to leave EUSDS classes or events, or be permanently banned at the Committee’s discretion without a refund.
If you are found in violation of the law, we will notify the relevant authorities.
General Conduct and Safe Space
- EUSDS is for everyone, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation (as defined by the 2010 Equality Act); as well as physical appearance or level of dance experience. We do not tolerate harassment of any kind.
- We do not tolerate sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, racist, or otherwise discriminatory language. Please note that this type of language is not acceptable even if meant as a joke.
- People attend EUSDS classes and events for a variety of reasons. It is important to recognise that, while many relationships and strong friendships have naturally evolved from the swing dance scene, EUSDS’s primary purpose is to provide a safe space for dancing. Personal space and boundaries must be respected at all times, and persistent unwanted attention, whether on or off the dancefloor, is unacceptable.
Dance Floor Conduct
- Dancing is a form of personal expression, and feedback can be a sensitive issue for many. For this reason, please do not offer unsolicited advice in classes and especially not on the social dance floor. By attending a class, you agree to follow the teachers’ instructions as best as you can, even if you consider yourself to be an experienced dancer and/or teacher.
Feedback is only acceptable in the following circumstances:
- if explicitly requested by your partner
- if explicitly encouraged by the teachers
- if you know the person well and are certain that feedback will be welcome. In this case, please confirm that this is the case before giving advice (e.g. “Would you mind if I made a suggestion?”)
Important: If your partner is causing you physical or psychological discomfort, or their dancing is otherwise unsafe, and you feel confident in doing so, please tell them. Alternatively, please inform a teacher so they can address this issue.
- If someone declines a dance, do not pressure them for a dance or an explanation. Accepting a dance is entirely at their discretion, and it should be just as easy for someone to turn down a dance as to accept one.
- By dancing with someone, you agree to keep them and everyone around you safe. Accidents happen, but you will make a sincere effort to learn connection and floorcraft techniques that are comfortable and safe, either at our classes or elsewhere, and apply them consistently. If an accident does happen, you will apologise and check that the affected parties are unharmed. In case of injury, you will ensure that the affected parties receive appropriate medical attention.
You will not engage in wilfully reckless or dangerous behaviour, and you will adapt your dancing to the number of people on the floor. Aerials on the social dance floor are an obvious violation of this point. Aerials are only acceptable in a performance or jam circle context, and only with a partner with whom you have practised them extensively.
- You will honour your partner’s boundaries and any physical or verbal requests your partner has made regarding the dance in social dancing. For example, you will not dance in closed position if your partner has indicated they are not comfortable dancing in closed position. If you are unclear regarding your partner’s request or boundary, it is your responsibility to confirm verbally. (e.g. your partner pulls away from you in closed position, you ask: “Would you prefer we finished the dance in open?” or: Your partner says: “I have a shoulder injury on my right, can we take it easy?”, you say: “Sure – is this level of tension OK?”).
Some styles (like Balboa and certain Blues styles) require you to be very close to your partner, so if you plan to take a class in these styles, please ensure that you are happy with this in advance, perhaps by looking up the styles on youtube or asking a teacher or volunteer.
- You will seek verbal consent from your partner before engaging in deep dips that require the follower to commit more than 50% of their body weight or any other type of movement that make it difficult for the follower to recover their balance if the leader lets go, regardless of whether you are dancing as the leader or follower. These type of moves can easily lead to injury if something goes wrong (through being dropped, or suddenly being required to support more weight than expected), so please check if your partner is happy to take this risk.
In any case, you will only do these types of movements if you can be reasonably certain that you can execute them safely and have practised them in a class and/or practice context.
Small dips, lunges etc. during which the follower holds all or most of their own weight and can recover their balance easily are assumed to be part of agreeing to a dance. If you are not comfortable with dips of any kind, please feel free to let your partner know.
What to do in case of Code of Conduct violation
If you are being harassed, made to feel uncomfortable for other reasons, or have any other concerns; or if you notice someone else is being made to feel uncomfortable, please talk to a teacher, Committee member, or volunteer immediately, or notify us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with details of the incident. All representatives of EUSDS will take your concerns seriously and take appropriate steps to address the issue.
We acknowledge that, like in any community, different people hold more or less power for various reasons within EUSDS, such as teacher status or level of dance experience, as well as other factors that affect the whole of society, such as gender or race. Higher status and perceived or actual authority can make it difficult to call someone out. However, everyone will be held to the same standards of behaviour, and misconduct will be addressed regardless of the status or identity of the perpetrator.