Dance Guidelines

A friend in Seattle sent this my way. It might be good for our various dances to be guided  

FLYING TURTLE DANCE AGREEMENTS & GUIDELINES

Welcome

This is a free-form, family-friendly dance space.

Listen to your body, move to your felt truth.

Offer both impeccable respect and exquisite care to yourself and others!

Let “Yes” represent a genuine desire & “No” be an expression of honesty & kindness.

Yes, I Agree:

o To celebrate the different, individual ways we express ourselves and our identities, striving to dissolve preconceived ideas and judgments.

o To encounter another’s space sensitively, engaging in all interactions consensually. Honoring cues, whether clear or subtle. Start small and observe! Approach others with an awareness of the quality of connection needed for conscious consent, especially with people I don’t know.  Sense into full consent especially when touching, sharing weight or lifting.

o To stay fluid, gauging each dancer’s moment-to-moment boundaries. Move freely in and out of shared dances, without obligation to wait for a song’s end.

o To be willingly accountable for misunderstood signals. If someone does not respond to your invitations, please take that answer as a “no” and do not persist.  Do not approach dancers who are by themselves with eyes closed, or approach anyone from behind without prior consent to do so.

o To trust and honor my internal preferences, whether “I want this!” or “I don’t want this”.  Practice conveying and acting on whatever you hear within yourself. Do this often and as clearly as you can.

o To allow the safe expression of our whole selves, including sensual and sexual energies, by not engaging in deliberate touch of each other’s private sexual areas (including making out). We want to keep this public space safe for ourselves, for dance connection, and for the vulnerabilities of those who witness us.

o Not to presume that connection on the dance floor implies consent to advances off the dance floor.

o Healing self-expression is a primary intention for us. Including, yes, connection and community building! So please, no, let’s not confuse our dance environment with a pick-up scene.

o To refrain from substance use that could hinder one’s awareness or caution.

o To care for the health and sensitivities of some dancers by avoiding scents.

o To not wear street shoes on the dance floor.

o To cherish our immersion in this journey by refraining from conversation on the dance floor during the dance. (Do use your words when needed!)

¬ If you experience discomfort or harm, we are here, without hesitation, to support your sovereignty and security. Reach out to a facilitator or other trusted dancer the moment you feel the desire to.

¬ Since risk-free experiences are not fully attainable in such an exploratory space, our initiatives in addressing and repairing boundary mistakes are as loving and vital as our efforts to prevent them!

 

Grateful blessings, enjoy!

————  

FLYING TURTLE DANCE AGREEMENTS

The Skinny ~

 

Ì Move as you wish, honoring each Yes and No, your own and others, with loving care.

Ì Honor our individual identities!

Ì Engage consensually, releasing assumptions & expectations with free-flowing mindfulness.

Ì Reach out for support.

Ì Be open and ready to repair mistakes and for mutual healing.

Ì Hold dance floor conversation to necessities only.

Ì No substance use that could hinder awareness or caution. Sobriety, please!

Ì Refrain from scents.

Ì No street shoes, thank you! 


Learn more about how dance is good for your brain

Find out more about ecstatic dance in Portland, Oregon – where/when

Moondance Agreements & Commitments – Seattle

Evolution Agreements & Commitments – Seattle

Related: Spread Ecstatic Dance far and Wide
A healthy Community Model, by Sarah Kreisman

ecstatic dance

A note from Joshua Seaman:

September 6, 2018

I’m frequently reminded of one of the male privileges I have, of being able to go to ecstatic dance and do my thing and dance freely… without having to deal with regularly holding boundaries against unwanted advances from men trying to engage with me. In numerous conversations with female friends over the years, I’ve heard the same stories again and again of men uninvitedly getting all up in their space and trying to dance with them, or unwanted touching, or even following them around the dance floor when they try to move away. And it takes a lot of energy to deal with having to maintain energetic boundaries, and the conflict distracts from the enjoyment of embodied dance.

Men, THIS IS NOT OKAY. Yes, it’s perfectly fine to want to dance with women (or anyone, however they identify) and to initiate a dance. This isn’t to dissuade that. But to state the obvious: if she is in her own zone, leave her alone. _Especially_ if you don’t have a solidly-established dance relationship with the person. Getting eye contact and engaging body language is the standard. If she’s not looking at you, it’s best to give her space. When women are dancing, they’re well aware of who is around them and who they want to dance with, so if you’re not getting eye contact just assume she doesn’t want to dance with you.

When you get a more comfortably established relationship with your dance friends, this may change. You may see people initiating physical contact without first getting eye contact and consent – this is usually because they already have an established dance/friend relationship where that is welcome. This is not a model for how to engage people you don’t know, but the result of trust that has been established between the people over time. And even if you have danced with someone before, do not assume your touch is welcome. When in doubt, ask. It’s okay to hold out your hand and ask if they’d like to dance. Or if they’re looking like they might want support, ask if they’d like touch. If they don’t accept it, no need to take it personally.

I know there are many men who are great with navigating the invitation to partner dance. And the intention of this post isn’t to shame or blame those who have made mistakes or may not know how their actions affect others, but to offer guidance, and to share what the experience of women is like. (Women, feel free to add to this, as I don’t assume to speak for all of you, but am sharing the fruits of conversations). It is exhausting at times to hold energetic boundaries from unwanted advances, and that extra energy takes an emotional toll, and distracts from enjoyment and flow of ecstatic movement. Especially if you’ve dealt with trauma (like most of us have, being human) and are in your body moving with it. And of course, everyone is responsible for taking care of themselves, and voicing boundaries, or declining dances through body language or words. But verbal requests are a lot easier to deal with than people imposing on your personal space or touching you when you’re not open to it. We want to cultivate a space that is supportive for all of us for freedom of movement, expression, feeling, healing, play, joy, consensual connecting, and embodied dancing of what’s alive in us. And while we can’t make anyone else feel safe, we can engage with others in a way that honors and respects their boundaries.

Please feel free to add to anything I’ve written here, or to share this to spread awareness.


Dance a Day

Comments

  1. I run a couple other dances in Seattle, and happen to know that these Flying Turtle guidelines are a work in progress. In fact, when looking to try to find them online, my Google search brought me here, because they haven’t been officially posted anywhere yet!

    The guidelines I use for my dances (Moondance & Evolution) can be seen on my website, if anyone’s interested. Cheers!

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