Several people have been working for over a year on safe spaces and sexual harassment prevention in the Cat’s Corner community. Here are two actions that have been taken at Cat’s:
- A Code of Conduct has been created for all community members (teachers, volunteers, evening managers, teacher candidates, swing ambassadors, dancers and employees). We encourage you to read it. It can be found below.
- A process to follow in case of a complaint from a community member. To let us know of any incidents, you can fill out an incident report here.
We consider that it’s the responsibility of all staff to participate in the creation of safe spaces. It’s also everyone’s responsibility to build a space where everyone is heard.
CODE OF CONDUCT
ÉCOLE DE DANSE CAT’S CORNER
Statement of intent
Cat’s Corner aims to create a safe space for everyone, both in our studio and in the wider swing and blues dance communities. We are a part of a wonderful community of people who connect through a shared love of jazz music and dance, and we celebrate the many positive relationships, experiences, and successes that have been created at our events. However, we recognize that these social dances take place within a broader societal context and that issues of power, privilege, and oppression also exist in our community.
Harassment and violence
Abusive, aggressive, violent or harassing behavior is not acceptable. If we are made aware of any unacceptable behavior we will ask you to leave the studio, and we may prohibit your return at our own discretion. We understand that you may offend someone unintentionally, and we remind dancers that they are nonetheless responsible for their own behavior.
Harassment is defined as:
- Acts, gestures or speech that are repeated and undesired;
- By their nature, can harm the moral, physical or psychological integrity of a person.
- One serious action can also constitute harassment if it has a significant negative impact on the person.
Sexual harassment can take many forms, such as the following (Sexual aggression table, Montreal 2016):
- Unwanted physical contact, such as sexual touching, pinching, beating, brushing against;
- Inappropriate comments of a sexual nature, comments about the body of a person or about their appearance, jokes that demean a sexual identity or orientation of the person;
- Solicitation of unwanted sexual favours;
- Intimate questions;
- Lustful stares, especially directed at private areas;
Code of conduct
- Cat’s Corner is open to everyone, regardless of sex, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, physical appearance, ability, age, or any other aspect of identity. We ask you to show the same respect to every member of the Cat’s Corner community and visitors, no matter their skill level or their involvement within the dance community.
- During a dance, make sure that your partner is comfortable with the connection, movements and positions of closer embrace. Ask for verbal consent.
- Aerials and drops (where a person takes the weight of another) are not appropriate for social dancing. They are permitted during jam circles and specific competitions. Make sure that you have already practiced these moves with your partner and that you have their consent before executing them.
- During a dance, if you feel uncomfortable, (whether the discomfort is physical, psychological or due to an injury) do not hesitate to inform your dance partner. If needed, do not hesitate to stop the dance. You are also allowed to refuse to dance with anyone. You may explain why, but you do not have to.
- Everyone has the choice to decline a dance without having to explain why, no matter the reason. If someone has declined to dance with you, do not take it personally and make sure to respect the other person’s decision.
- Make sure to choose a spot on the dance floor where there is sufficient space to dance. Both partners should take responsibility for their own security, by paying attention to your surroundings you can avoid injuring yourself or others. If you accidentally kick someone or collide with someone else, please apologize and make sure the other person is ok.
- Take care of your personal hygiene before coming to the studio. It is recommended to take a shower, wear deodorant, brush your teeth and bring a change of clothes.
- Do not correct others’ dancing unless you were specifically asked for feedback or if their dancing may cause an injury. If you are in a situation where you are giving someone feedback, please tell them in a way that is respectful and constructive.
We reserve the right to refuse access to the studio or to ask someone to leave the premises. We will enforce this rule when someone is visibly under the influence of alcohol, drugs, causing discomfort to the members of the community or any other reason at our discretion. This is in order to prevent any disturbances of the studio’s activities
We understand that disclosing an uncomfortable situation or a complaint can be challenging, and we do not wish to place responsibility for the creation of a safe space on those who have already had negative experiences. Those that do choose to bring up a concern to Cat’s Corner’s leadership have the right to be heard, to be believed, to have their privacy respected. Whenever possible we will provide options about whether, where and how their disclosure is shared, and to have choices about what, if any action is taken. We may override this choice when it is required for legal reasons or to protect someone from immediate harm. The leadership at Cat’s Corner is also available for conversations about situations that are unclear, may or may not be inappropriate, are ambiguous or are difficult to understand.
What you can do if you have a negative experience at Cat’s Corner?
- Talk to the person to ask them to stop that behaviour
- Talk to a teacher, or staff member of Cat’s Corner
- Fill out an incident report.
For any questions, comments, suggestions, or complaints, please contact any person who is part of Cat’s Corner staff, such as the teachers, DJs or evening managers.
It’s also possible to fill our the Incident report anonymously. This will help us keep track of situations that are happening at the studio.
Finally, you can also contact the management at firstname.lastname@example.org or our team at email@example.com