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Guidelines

Creating a fun and safe environment..

Austin Inspired Movement has strived to create a fun, safe, and inclusive space to learn the gift of dance and share it with each other! Over the years, we have listened to feedback, grown as a community, and now wish to outline how we will continue to safeguard the family we have. The goal is to transparently communicate appropriate dancer etiquette within this community. 

 

Our community is composed of people of all races, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, abilities, religions and spiritualities, ages, body shapes, socio-economic statuses, and immigrant statuses. Harassment and inappropriate behavior of any type will not be tolerated. Furthermore, we are committed to creating an environment of inclusivity and accountability amongst all community members.

 

All community members will be expected to uphold the following Code of Conduct. As leaders in the dance industry and Austin dance community, we commit to educating community members around the Code of Conduct and our expectations surrounding appropriate behavior.

 

The GOLDEN Rules:

 

  1. Be Present - In the hustle of everyday life, living in the present moment helps one to fully appreciate the important things that usually get ignored.


  2. Be Kind - Everyone enters a dance studio or school having their own background or daily life experience. Be empathetic to the newness that dance may be to your fellow human who is in the learning process or aware of the hidden hard days someone might be experiencing. 


  3. Be Gentle - Dancing, when led properly, should not be painful.  No sharp or strong movements/head movements/dips. Check boundaries gradually and slowly. Be aware of your own strength.





DANCER ETTIQUETTE

 

Dancing Safely

  1. Leads and follows should both be alert and practice good floor spatial awareness. Be conscious of who is around. If you accidentally hit or kick another dancer, apologize and make sure they are ok.

  2. Avoid yanking, jerking, or forceful movement (risk of shoulder, arm, neck, and upper-back injuries).


  3. Avoid bending over your partner during a dip (risk of lower back injuries).


  4. Avoid sudden weight sharing (“dropping your weight”).


  5. Lifts are NOT allowed on the social dance floor, even with consent, out of concern to others.


  6. If the dance feels unsafe, clearly and politely communicate it. 


  7. If your dance partner seems in pain, ask if they are okay. Be receptive to feedback.

BEFORE a social/class:

  1. Shower. Wear clean clothes.


  2. Brush your teeth before, bring mints to refresh throughout the night.


  3. Use deodorant and be mindful of yourself during the night - you might need to refresh.


  4. Do not overuse cologne/perfume, even “good” smells can be too much.


  5. Sweaty? Bring extra shirts and a towel. No one likes to hug a wet shirt!


  6. Avoid clothing with spikes or sharp edges that may hurt a partner.


  7. Empty your right pant leg (of keys, phone, anything else) and to wear supportive undergarments (guys, avoid loose boxers).


 

DURING a social/class:

  1. Be there. Excessive amounts of any intoxicating substances can make you lose balance or mentally “check out” of your dance. Respect your partners by limiting those.


  2. Say hello. It is recommended to introduce yourself and any limitations that you might have when dancing with someone. 


  3. Listen (verbally and physically) to each of your partner’s physical boundaries, in regard to close embrace, injuries they tell you about etc.


  4. If you receive feedback about physical safety or boundaries, treat it with respect, even if you are sure that you are not in the wrong. Listen, ask questions, thank them, and seek additional perspective or advice from instructors if needed after or during the class.


  5. Check your hygiene regularly, you can ask a friend or any instructor for a second opinion.


  6. Dance with everybody, especially unfamiliar people. Give your best dance to every partner.

  7. Do not teach or give feedback on the dance floor during a social unless it is requested, or the movement was dangerous or painful. If you get feedback, be respectful of the perspective and seek further clarification from instructors as needed.

  8. You can end a dance at any time that you like during socials. Zouk socials have a seamless flow of music, and sometimes we don’t know when a song ended. (More on that below)


  9. Say “Thank you” at the end of dances and/or, if you feel your safety was unintentionally violated, you can offer feedback to your partner. (More on that below)


  10. You have the right to accept or refuse any dance without needing to give a reason or apology. Learn to say “no,” “not right now,” and “yes.” Kindly communicate what you know is best for you.

  11. You can end a dance with a light squeeze and a thank you.


  12. In socials - be cautious of anyone promoting themselves as a teacher or mentor by using tactics that explicitly undermine your confidence in yourself and/or your dancing. A social should be for fun.


  13. Practice using verbal and non-verbal methods of changing holds from close to open embrace.


  14. Move to verbal feedback whenever you need it ("Hey, this feels uncomfortable to me")


 

 

Dance Roles

Anyone can lead, and anyone can follow, and anyone can try the other role. Be safe and gentle when trying new things.

Consent & Safety

  1. Be safe with your partner (see Golden Rule 2 for emotional safety and Golden Rule 3 for physical safety). ESPECIALLY with any tilted movements and dips.  Start very slowly and gently in social dancing.


  2. We are learning to connect and use our bodies in ways that we might not be practiced at. Sometimes it will be awkward and sometimes we will make mistakes. Please be kind through this process


  3. Do not intentionally caress breasts or genitals.


  4. Ask BEFORE you do these things the first time: caressing, lifting, hugging, kissing, and anything alike that might be considered intimate.


  5. Avoid touching faces (with your own face or hand, neck, legs) unless it is agreed upon both parties.


  6. You might unintentionally violate a boundary. Please be open and humble if someone tells you this.


  7. Others may violate your boundaries. Please be courageous in using your words to communicate your needs and/or stop a dance if needed (“Don’t do that please”, “I’m not comfortable with this” etc.)


  8. You are encouraged to voice concerns about any behavior to any of the Inspired Movement instructors, staff, or community leaders, who will hear you without judgment and work to resolve the situation.


 

COVID and Illness

  1. Participants who feel unwell or exhibit symptoms must stay at home. Those who have a body temperature of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will not be allowed to participate and asked to leave. Proper wearing of face masks will be highly recommended during high risk illness periods for the duration of I.M. events unless otherwise specified.


  2. We encourage participants to follow public health guidelines for all national, state, and local requirements.


  3. We encourage all participants to practice regular hand washing and sanitizing upon arrival, between dances, and departure.


 

Race and gender

  1. Participants will practice anti-racism by speaking up when racist behaviors or microaggressions are observed. If you do not feel safe to speak up, please notify a staff member to resolve the issue.


  2. We recognize and accept any pronoun that one identifies as.

  3. As a community we will respect other participants by using their gender pronouns. If someone makes a mistake and assumes gender/pronoun, we will show empathy and let them know how we want to be referred to. They are then expected to correct themselves. If they do not correct themselves/pick on any person's identity, please notify a staff member so we can deal with this violation.

Professional Conduct Standards for Instructors, Staff, & Community Leaders

  1. Inspired Movement (I.M.) instructors and staff value and care for students and act in their best interest.


  2. I.M. Instructors and Staff are community role models who act honestly and take responsibility in their actions, especially about any misconduct or behaviors they might have had in the past, as well as taking responsibility for their present behavior, and remaining open to feedback and learning.


  3. I.M. Instructors and Staff have a broad knowledge base and understand what they teach.


  4. I.M. Instructors and Staff engage in learning throughout their teaching career.


  5. I.M. Instructors and Staff advocate for students, in an ethical manner.


  6. I.M. Instructors and Staff are asked to be supportive of other teachers who follow these standards.


  7. I.M. Instructors and Staff understand that the relationship between teacher and student has a power imbalance and act with responsibility. When romantic relationships or friendships occur within the teacher/student power imbalance there is a risk that the person with less power may feel a reduced ability to enforce boundaries. I.M. Instructors and Staff educators are asked to be aware of these risks.


  8. I.M. Instructors and Staff use best practices for gathering accurate feedback on their teaching by including a mix of both verbal and non-verbal methods and anonymous feedback.


  9. I.M. Instructors and Staff are aware of abuses of power such as gas-lighting and other predator-victim grooming techniques so that they can avoid these behaviors and spot those actively engaging in them in the community.


 

At Inspired Movement, we understand that not all participants will uphold the Code of Conduct at all times. As a community, we strive to treat each other with respect and hold each other accountable. We encourage individuals to manage issues when they arise and inform us of any inappropriate behavior.

 

Inspired Movement reserves the right to address misconduct in a manner appropriate to the extent of the misconduct in a variety of ways ranging from having a conversation and setting clear expectations of behavior to permanent denial of entry to all future I.M. activities.

 

Participants who experience or observe inappropriate behavior may submit a report in the following ways:

 

  1. Contact any teacher/staff member personally


  2. Submit this form with contact information - We promise to never share your identity with anyone unless you agree to it.   We might contact you for more information about the incident
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  3. Submit this form anonymously - If anonymity is important to you, don't type your name it - we will not know who you are, and won't be able to reach you for more details


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