Corvallis Folklore Society Dance Safety Policy

Corvallis Contra Weekend Community Standards and Code of Conduct

Revised 15 November 2023

To foster an environment that is fun and comfortable for everyone, here are ways we care for each other at the Corvallis Contra Weekend.

We strive to be inclusive, welcoming, and community minded:

  • We welcome young and old, new and experienced dancers to enjoy the dance together, and we treat each other respectfully.
  • We offer gentle and empathetic cues when we notice that someone is confused, and we don’t assume that they need help if they are altering moves without disrupting the dance. They may be modifying to accommodate their individual situation.
  • We dance with whoever is coming at us, meaning people can enjoy dancing either role, regardless of their gender identity or expression.

We care for each other’s physical safety:

  • We dance gently and with consideration for our neighbors and others in the contra line, doing our best to arrive on time to dance moves, being mindful of other dancers’ space, and not just focusing on our partner.
  • We arrive fragrance-free, knowing that some people have sensitivities.
  • We arrive sober, recognizing that dancing requires spatial awareness.
  • If we are feeling ill, we stay home to keep others in our community healthy. 

We communicate openly and practice consent:

  • When we ask someone to dance, we graciously accept “No thank you” as an answer.
  • We ask potential partners which role they’d like to dance without assuming.
  • We are gentle with each other, checking in with our partners and respecting physical limitations, preferences and boundaries on any given night, including personal space.
  • We volunteer our preferences and needs, such as, “I’m dizzy. Can we slow down?” or holding our own arm down when a twirl is offered to indicate, “No thank you.”
  • We ask partners and neighbors if they would enjoy flourishes or close embrace swings before we add them in.
  • We recognize that while eye contact is part of contra dance culture, it is optional for all, and we aim to meet each dancer with a level of eye contact that is comfortable for them.
  • We give and receive feedback as gracefully as possible.

In addition to our community standards above, our expectations for attendees include:

  • Treating everyone with respect, regardless of their dance ability level, age, race, physical body, or gender presentation.
  • Respecting others by using the names and pronouns they give for themselves.
  • Respecting others’ boundaries and preferences regarding dance roles, eye contact, flourishes, and personal space.
  • Avoiding discrimination and harassment of all forms, including overtly non-consensual words or actions.

We want to hear about conduct that does not meet these expectations. If you notice something that doesn’t seem quite right, let an organizer know or use our Safety Report Form.

If anyone at our dance weekend makes you feel uncomfortable:

  • Please discuss what happened with the person if you feel comfortable doing so, during or after the dance.
  • If you don’t want to talk to the person, or you try talking to them and you don’t feel heard, please talk to an organizer. We want to hear your concerns, even if you don’t want us to take action or approach anyone. If what happened is something you would tell a friend about, it’s worth talking to an organizer about. Your experience can help inform future decisions, even if action is not necessary in the moment.
  • If you would be more comfortable telling our organizers about what happened digitally and/or anonymously, please fill out our Safety Report Form instead. We will check this form regularly throughout the weekend and much more infrequently after February.

If anyone tells you that you have made them uncomfortable:

  • If anyone asks you to stop doing something, apologize and stop doing it. For example, “So sorry; thanks for telling me.”
  • If the uncomfortable action wasn’t intentional, you may say so, but still apologize. It’s important to acknowledge the other person’s feelings and to consider the impact that your behavior may have on others, regardless of your intention.
  • After your apology, give the other dancer space and time. Let them approach you before you continue conversation or ask them to dance. If it doesn’t feel completely resolved, let an organizer know what happened so they can check in.
  • Moving forward, pay attention to other dancers’ verbal and nonverbal signals. If you notice similar signals from multiple dancers (e.g., consistently declining twirls, avoiding eye contact, pushing for more space in swings), consider how you might make others more comfortable. Check in with your partner about flourishes, eye contact, and swing style, and err on the side of being gentle and respectful.

If someone comes to us or we witness conduct that does not meet our community standards, we will:

  • Listen – Hear the experience of anyone who feels uncomfortable and hear what they need to feel safe at CCW. We will discuss next steps with them and respect any requests for anonymity.
  • Take action – Depending on what is desired and appropriate, there are a number of things we can do to help an uncomfortable dancer feel safe and comfortable, including:
    • Continue to be a safe person to talk to.
    • Keep an eye on a person’s behavior.
    • Approach the person or people whose conduct did not meet our expectations and listen to their experience. We will identify what they can do to avoid making others feel uncomfortable in the future and ask them to commit to doing it.
    • Help find options for dancers to participate in a way that feels safe to them.
  • Monitor – Keep an eye out for subsequent concerning behavior and follow up if appropriate.

We recognize that every situation is different and some may require different processes including, but not limited to, mediation, organizer discussion, expulsion from CCW, and banning from CCW in the future.

Our approach is informed by guidance and resources from our fellow organizers, as well as many conversations with other organizers and friends. Thank you all for your help!