Early in the days of Swing Kat, my good friend Alex Cooker hung a sign in our lobby stating “Shut up and dance!”. It was a funny statement, but if I had that sign today I would hang it back up. When people come in our doors they are looking for a place of acceptance, joy, relaxation, and fun; a place far from the toxic divisions and distractions clouding up their daily lives. Much like watching sports, frequenting bars, or going on a hike, they are looking for an escape from the pressures of life. Dancing is their escape from an angry, rapid-fire, digital world. Please keep those pressures outside our doors and away from our dance community. Our ballroom offers the opportunity for real, tactile, human connection of a kind which is sadly missing from most facets of modern life. Of course this does not come without challenges; as is the case with any meaningful art form we want you to be challenged, and to cross paths with people whom you ordinarily wouldn’t. That’s life; that’s art; that’s dance. At the same time we wish to establish a baseline standard of expected behavior and safety, an expected minimum level of civility. Stated simply it would look like this: Let’s do our best to make sure everyone feels welcome inside our doors and part of our community.
Swing Kat strives to provide an environment which is welcoming to everyone no matter who you are, how you were born, what challenges you may find yourself facing, what life choices you have made, how far along on your individual dance journey you may be, how far along the road of life you’ve traveled, or what you’ve chosen to believe in. We ask all of our guests to be just as open to those they may see as different than themselves or with whom they don’t agree. We also strive to provide the safest dance environment possible for our community, while recognizing that no event or venue can be made 100% safe. By participating in Swing Kat you agree to abide by these behavioral standards. Any dancer engaging in harassing or bullying behavior whether inside our doors, online, or by other means may be, at our discretion, spoken to, warned, removed without refund, or barred from Swing Kat events. If you feel you have been the subject of such behavior, please speak with us. The earlier we might intervene, the more likely an amicable resolution might be possible.
- Harassment of other attendees is unacceptable. Dancers asked to stop harassing behavior are expected to listen and desist. Examples of harassment include but aren’t limited to the following: repeated and continued verbal abuse, unwanted physical or sexual contact or advances (physical or verbal), deliberate intimidation or manipulation, stalking, harassing photography or recording, and sustained disruption of dances, classes, workshops, or other events.
- Please refrain from wearing attire that is offensive or that has offensive subject matter on it. Swing Kat is a family friendly environment where offensive image/words/phrases written on an article of clothing, overly inappropriate attire, or costumes in bad taste are not allowed.
- We ask that you show respect to every member of the community and all visitors, no matter their skill level or involvement in the community. We also ask our regular dancers to remember what it was like when they first set out on their dancing journey, and strive to be open and welcoming to newcomers. This is how a great community continues to grow!
- Anyone may ask anyone else for a dance. Due to historic social norms, some may feel out of place asking others to dance. However today anyone may ask anyone regardless of dance role or gender. If you find yourself wanting to dance and waiting to be asked, take the initiative! Use your WORDS when requesting a dance! Please refrain from walking up to someone and merely extend your hand or arm unless you have a clear understanding with a friend. Otherwise, please use your words to request a dance, and NEVER touch someone without their consent.
- It is perfectly OK to say “No” to any dance request for any reason. While the person declining a dance may offer an explanation, they are under no obligation to do so. No one is entitled to a dance with anyone else.
- It’s perfectly OK for someone to decline a dance. Please be gracious in accepting that “no”.
NEVER badger someone in an attempt to change their mind after they have already said “no”- doing so is a form of harassment. Graciously Accept their wishes.
- Aerials are inherently dangerous on a crowded dance floor. These are specialized show piece moves which are usually reserved for Jam Circles, Performances, and Competitions. Do not practice aerials in our facility- arrive knowing these steps already. Only attempt them in an open area which isn’t crowded with other dancers.
- Do not correct others on the dance floor; it is not a classroom and you are not an instructor. Please refrain from giving unsolicited dance advice on the social dance floor.
- The safe execution of dance moves is the responsibility of both partners– protect your partner and yourself- doing so is just good Floorcraft. Do apologize in the case of collision with other dancers and for incidental or unintentional contact of sensitive areas of your dance partner or other dancers. (Accidents are bound to happen on the dance floor.)
It is OK to stop dancing with a person at any point during a song, for any reason.
Please speak to Swing Kat management, an event organizer, DJ, or dance instructor in the event that you find yourself the subject of harassment, feel unsafe, or are in need of assistance for any reason. We will treat reported issues with as much anonymity as is possible. Our community can only be safe and healthy if we all work toward its betterment. Be good to everyone under our roof, and strive to be better and more compassionate to others each day- the artistry and passion of your dancing will follow suit. Welcome to the Swing Kat family!
In closing, even what you post on social media can effect our community as your beliefs and biases make their way into our sanctuary. So, consider who can read those posts. Should your dance friends be reading these things about you? I have many good friends, people I would die for whose beliefs on politics, religion and other subjects I do not know. Instead share who you are one on one with friends when appropriate as much more agreement can be found in these moments. Yet let’s do our best to keep Swing Kat as a sanctuary from these outside issues which would ruin this good thing we have. Lastly, let’s do our best to make sure everyone feels welcome inside our doors and as part of our community.