Rhythm City Productions

RCMA Code of Conduct

This code of conduct applies to all attendees, staff, instructors, venue managers, vendors, and volunteers of Rhythm City Mess Around and is in effect for the entire duration of your association with this event. We appreciate your participation in creating a safer and welcoming environment for everyone. 

A message from your Rhythm City Mess Around Safer Space Advocates 

Welcome to Rhythm City Mess Around: our celebration of the beautiful, Black, American tradition of Lindy Hop and Vernacular Jazz Dance, and contemporary street dances. 

Please be respectful of other people and be mindful of their feelings and personal space. This space and its Safer Spaces Advocates prioritize safety, equity, respect, and well being. If behaviour we deem unsafe, inappropriate, and/or disrespectful is observed or brought to our attention, Safer Spaces Advocates will respond. Safer Spaces Advocates will attempt to meet, discuss conduct, and recommend corrective action for unsafe behaviors. We will prevent entry and revoke access without refund in response to serious, dangerous, and repeated offences that jeopardize the safety and agency of our space and our guests. Refunds will not be granted in such situations. 

Under no circumstances do we tolerate discrimination and harassment including, but not limited to, discrimination and/or harassment on the basis of: sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, relationship status, relationship type or practice, socio-economic status (class), race, ability, language fluency or accent, age, physical appearance, mental health status, education, religion or lack thereof, and size. 

Rhythm City Mess Around is dedicated to a culture of consent based off of the premise of autonomy: meaning that no one can force another to do anything with their body, mind, or spirit that they did not consent to. Violating consent is not simply an act of ignoring a ‘no’ or not asking for permission. There are many forms of consent violations and the person who can decide if consent was violated is the person who feels their consent was violated. Some examples of situations that can include consent violations are: not respecting explicitly expressed boundaries and coercing someone to do something through repeated requests or social pressure. Taking advantage of someone’s mental status such as if they are intoxicated or in a state of distress or extreme exhaustion. Taking advantage of someone’s lack of understanding or experience. Pushing established boundaries and cultural norms without permission. Using one’s social power, physical power, or taking advantage of the environment, such as a very crowded dance floor, or an empty room. Going through someone’s belongings without permission. Continuing until you get a ‘no’ and not checking in that your partner is comfortable with something new. 

Philosophy and Scope
As a general note about our philosophy and the mindset behind this Code of Conduct, we are not here to manage anyone’s consent or police anyone’s boundaries. We ask that everyone do their best to be forthcoming if their boundaries are being crossed. If you do not feel safe communicating these boundaries we are happy to discuss tools with you, and if you feel your boundaries were not respected please don’t hesitate to come to us. And if another attendee shown themselves to be unsafe we are here to intervene, and of course repeated consent violations and/or assault are never tolerated. 

With large diverse events it’s not possible for us to create a truly ‘safe space’, however we always endeavour to be as safe as possible and this can only be achieved with everyone’s help and participation. Any feedback you share with us about how to make the dance safer is appreciated. 

Our Safer Spaces Advocates are volunteers and our capacity is limited to Rhythm City Mess Around. We cannot make decisions or become involved with issues such as breakups, rivalries, things that happen within consensual relationships, etc., with the exception of helping you to contact law enforcement. Once law enforcement becomes involved, our involvement in the situation comes to an end. 

Physical Safety
Lindy Hop and its related dances are a wonderful form of creative athletic expression. There are many flashy and exciting variations and while we want to encourage exploration and enthusiasm; safety is our top priority. Aerials are expressly forbidden on the social dance floor, as are lifts except in appropriate situations such as jams or competitions after getting your partner’s consent. Dips and lifts should only be done with the express consent of your dance partner; regardless of the situation. As with all moves, dance partners have the right to modulate or refuse what was lead for any reason, and we ask that all dance partners are open to hearing and communicating their boundaries. If you do not feel safe communicating these boundaries, we are happy to discuss tools with you, and if you feel your boundaries were not respected, please don’t hesitate to come to us. 

We also ask that people do their best to be aware of their surroundings, regardless of if they are leading, following, or switching, and that they refrain from doing high, forceful kicks that might injure another person on the social dance floor outside of jams, competitions, or performances. We ask for similar respect for space regarding arm stylings. 

If you accidentally touch someone in a sensitive area on the dance floor, in a workshop, or while practicing, we expect this incident to be acknowledged and apologized for. Repeated offences will be considered assault/intentional consent violations. 

While alcohol and marijuana are legal in the province of British Columbia, we ask people to use their better judgement and monitor their intoxication levels so as not to injure themselves or others on the social dance floor. Alcoholic drinks purchased at our dances must be consumed within the venue; no alcoholic drinks may be taken outside the Russian Hall. All other forms of illicit substances are expressly prohibited. If we believe you to be under the influence of any illegal substances, or to be excessively intoxicated, we will eject you from the dance. 

Respect For Boundaries
Dancing is a wonderful way to meet a variety of people and we absolutely encourage friendly socializing, however , any predatory behavior will be addressed immediately. Sexual language and imagery in social situations is not appropriate for any event venue including dances, workshops, competitions, and event related social media pages. Threatening or harassing language or behavior will not be tolerated on or offline. Harassing fellow attendees with threatening private messages will also not be tolerated. Some examples of harassment are repeated/targeted photography or recording, stalking, following, restricting someone’s movement, physical violence, taking of personal property, going through someone else’s property without permission, repeated unwelcome sexual attention and non reciprocated flirtation. 

Potential dance partners have the right to refuse any dance, at any time, and without explanation. While we ask that people be kind and polite to each other in both asking for and refusing dances, we also expect anything other than an enthusiastic/clear ‘yes’ to be respected. If someone says ‘no’ to dancing with you, assume it has nothing to do with you and just go find someone who is feeling excited to dance. 

Rhythm City Mess Around welcomes dancers of all levels and abilities and we would like everyone to feel welcome and free to be creative and expressive. In order to respect everyone’s journey in dance, we ask that you refrain from giving unsolicited feedback, teaching on the social dance floor, and out of respect for our instructors and other attendees, disrupting lessons to teach your own materials/give your own versions of instructions. Issues of physical safety, pain, discomfort, or need to correct/(re)establish boundaries are exceptions. 

Attendees are asked to respect the boundaries of all professionals associated with our event including instructors, musicians, staff, and volunteers. Please remember that they are here to enjoy the event too. When they are working do not interfere with their work or disrupt it. And when they are not working do not request that they perform free professional services for you such as asking them for mini-lessons on the dance floor, asking them to give you feedback, etc. 

No sale or promotion of unauthorized merchandise In order to protect the financial wellbeing of our community it is not authorized to sell or promote merchandise associated with any Multi-Level Marketing Scheme while in at Rhythm City Mess Around nor on any of our social media pages. 

How to get help:

EMAIL [email protected] 

Find a Safer Spaces Advocate 

Main dances designated Safer Space Contacts: Laura Avelino and Damian Cade

Confidentiality is the foundation of trust , and we will only inform accused parties of their accusers identity with that person’s consent. Creating an environment in which you feel safe to come forward is our responsibility, and without your help we cannot do any prevention. All of our staff are available to help you contact our Safer Spaces Advocates, or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event. We value your attendance and your safety. All of our Safer Spaces Staff are here to listen regardless of the nature or severity of the issue. 

This code of conduct was written by Ariana Coveney. This Code of Conduct and all associated materials are protected by intellectual property rights laws. You may not extract and/or re-utilise parts of the content of any of this Code of Conduct without express written consent from Ariana Coveney. You may not reproduce or publish any aspect of this material without express written consent. You may not misuse any aspects of this material, and Ariana Coveney and Rhythm City Mess Around accept no responsibility for any harm or injury that results from this material being misused.