Tools for Helping to Guide You in the Dance
Rule #1: Don't hurt yourself in any way. Move within your limits.
Rule #2: Don't hurt anyone else, physically, emotionally or energetically.
To help clarify and explain these rules, the guidlines below were developed by and adopted from our friends in Boulder, Colorado who hold a weekly contact improvisation lab every Sunday.)
If you smell of alcohol or appear to be inebriated; if you are behaving in ways that are inappropriate to our space; or, if we deem that your presence within our community is unsafe, then we will ask you to leave.
We encourage you to take off your shoes and socks in order to better connect with the floor. However, we understand that some people need to wear orthotics for support. Please, always be aware of the feet around you -- especially if you need to wear your shoes on the dance floor.
Our shared dance floors provide ample room and opportunity for you to warm-up, and stretch out your body. We highly recommend that you do this prior to engaging in any kind of rigorous movement, as dancing can be a potentially risky activity. By taking part in our dance jams, classes, and other events, you acknowledge this fact and take responsibility for your own safety.
Please know the limits of your own skill level. While it is worthwhile to take mindful, calculated risks, you need not put yourself in physical situations that your skill level does not support. You might find that doing a movement at half speed allows your mind and body to cooperate better.
Be aware of what is happening around you. Are there a lot of people on the dance floor? Are people horizontal? Vertical? Moving fast, or slow? Are there people dancing with hoops and/or sticks near you? Stay mindful about what is going on in the dance space.
Do not allow your partner to manipulate or push you beyond your abilities. Do not try to keep up with someone because you perceive that they have more skill than you. You can say “no” at any time with your words and/or with your body.
Although we welcome all levels of movement skill, your understanding of your body, how you move and how to move with others is important. We encourage all dancers in the community to increase movement awareness by participating in our classes: on Friday nights in the pre-jam classes before the Barefoot Boogie at Eveoke, or on Tuesday nights at the Performing Arts Workshop in Encinitas. This will help you deepen your dance, move with more confidence and keep you safer on the dance floor. Feel free to ask any of our action team members about classes in and around San Diego.
If you feel you need earplugs, please ask at the front desk.
You have the right and responsibility to maintain your own boundaries in the dance. You have the right and responsibility to say “no” (or “yes”) in the dance, to end a dance, or move away from a situation that doesn’t suit you at any time. You don’t have to apologize, accommodate, or explain. If you don’t know what your boundary is, or if you have trouble saying no in your dances, you have the responsibility to learn how to do this. If something happens in your dance that is troubling to you or feels like a violation, please talk directly to your partner -- trying to refrain from blaming or projecting, if possible. If you need help, you can ask an action team member or another community member for support.
Conversely, you also have the responsibility to understand how your dance, your energy, and your own sense of personal boundaries impact your dance partners and the dance space around you. If you’re not sure, ask your partners what your impact is. Try to practice hearing feedback without becoming defensive. Try to practice listening to non-verbal cues, and get verbal feedback if there is any confusion or ambiguity.
We are sexual beings, therefore sexuality will always be present in some way, shape, or form in our space, and in the world at large. The question is not whether sexuality is present, but how it shows up, to what degree it shows up, and how it is held/expressed in the dance. For some, a distinction between sexuality and sensuality is helpful, while for others the distinction is unclear.
We invite dancers to show up responsibly with their full beings and we create a safe space for self-exploration and expression, using the dance as a container. If you witness a dance that is uncomfortable, you may choose to share your discomfort with our action team members. It may turn out that you are projecting/misinterpreting, you may be seeing unconscious/shadow behavior, or you may be naming unacceptable behavior. This is your space, and you are invited to share your experience of it.
Different people have different tolerances and desires for sensuality in their dances. Do not initiate sensual dances unless you know your partner and know they would welcome sensuality in the dance. When in doubt, do your best to contribute to an atmosphere of safety, especially for those who are new to our community.
A good rule to follow about sexual/sensual energy in a dance: when in doubt, don’t escalate the energy. It is possible, even likely, to misread signals or to allow your energy to bring an unwanted agenda to the dance. Learn to play with the edge of containment vs. expression, and check in with your partner. You have a responsibility to understand how your behavior impacts your dance partners and the dance space.
Unwanted sexual advances and touching are NEVER acceptable. Anyone who experiences this should stop the dance, tell their partner “no,” and share their experience with an action team member or anyone else in the space who can help.
A great way to deepen your dance and your overall sense of community is to give and receive verbal feedback whenever you feel called to. This can happen during the middle of a dance, immediately after a dance, after the jams/classes, in the lobby, etc. Give/ask for feedback in your own way, or use our suggested script as a model to get you going:
What I really liked about our dance was ( ).
Something that was challenging for me was ( ).
My request is ( ).
We welcome children to our community spaces and we support all families. With that said, our dance spaces are a physically risky environment and parents need to be responsible for their children at all times. Also, while many people love children, some people find their energy and behavior a distraction, especially in verbal sharing times. Please be mindful of this.
Music at our jams is provided by various DJs -- community members and people who have volunteered their time to provide additional layers and textures to our time together. If you have suggestions regarding songs and/or music that you would like to hear, you are more than welcome to share these ideas with our action team members. We respectfully request that you do not bombard our DJs with your requests. We also ask that you think about your feedback while remembering that our gracious DJ's selections will not make everyone happy. If you would like to be a DJ, please let one of our action team members know. Of course, you can also make your own mix CD and donate it to our shared space at any point in time.
At Eveoke, we hold live, improvisational music/dance jams every First and Third Friday from 8-9pm. All musicians are welcome to bring their instruments and join in. You are not required to be an advanced player of any kind. All we simply ask is that you commit yourself to the moment(s) at hand, with integrity. Sometimes, there are additional instruments on hand if you would like to try on the role of musician. We also hold live, improvisational jams at our space in Encinitas. Please consult our calendar to find out when the next jam will be taking place at the Performing Arts Workshop.
Music is an amazing addition to help support the dance. It can also be a hindrance. Playing music for improvisational movement is different than playing it for a listening audience. We ask that musicians, and DJs, be very mindful of the impact their music is having upon the entire space and everyone’s dance within it. Learn to “read the space.” When you make music, you are basically introducing another dance partner into the space with which dancers must either contend or move.
Sound and Talking
Sound is a natural part of embodied movement and is welcome in both of our dance spaces. Talking as a means of deepening into the dance is also welcome, for example when asking your partner to pursue some interesting facet of movement or when giving/receiving feedback. However, we request that general, social chatter be done off of the dance floor, in the lobby, or outside. Chatter pulls people out of the direct experience of the dance. If you find yourself talking, please ask yourself the question, “Are my words deepening my dance or pulling me out of it?”
San Diego’s Dance Jam Action Team Members
Please feel free to introduce yourselves to us, at any time, and to share with us your questions, concerns, comments, or suggestions. You may find us on the dance floor or you can email us, as well. While we are technically in charge of holding these dance spaces, the spirit of our jams/classes/events is truly contained and maintained by the community as a whole. We feel deep gratitude for every dance and dancer that enriches our collective experience!
These guidelines were graciously borrowed from the Boulder Contact Lab. You can find more information about our neighbors to the east’s event by clicking here.