On Recent Safe Space Issues In the Swing Scene

COMMUNITY SUPPORT IN THE SWING SCENE

At Savoy Swing club we consider it an honor to be able to create spaces where so many people can find friendship, inspiration, and relaxation. Our first and highest priority will always be to facilitate the creation of healthy and supportive communities centered around swing dance.

Unfortunately, a Seattle dance instructor was just accused of sexual assault. As soon as this news broke leaders, organizers, and instructors from across the scene banded together to find ways to take immediate action and help the community heal. Savoy Swing Club is currently working closely with Revival Rhythm and the Syncopation Foundation as well as other swing dance leaders in the greater Seattle area to find a community centered path forward. We will be issuing an official statement in the near future.

Many people come to the swing dance community as a place to escape the stresses of daily life, to find community and connection, to explore themselves, and feel safe to be creative. This requires trust as its most basic foundation. Trust that one’s identity will be respected. Trust that boundaries will not be violated. And trust that if problems arise, there will be people to help. It’s never possible to create a truly safe space, however, we are as a scene dedicated to creating safer spaces.

At this time we would like to reaffirm our commitment to the trust you place in us. We also want to remind you that if ever a situation occurs or has occured at a dance event or involving another community member, no matter their position, we will listen to you with respect and compassion. And if you come to us as the perpetrator of a problem we will support you in taking accountability and working towards change. We always take these matters seriously and we have policies and procedures in place, crafted with the help of social workers to enable us to serve the community as best as possible.

What community members should know about the Savoy Swing Club Safety Committee’s procedures:

  1. Who we are: 3-5 Savoy Swing Club board members, which is an open group, and occasionally outside experts (social workers, Consent Academy, etc).
  2. How to contact: The best way is via email, saferspace@savoyswing.org. There are always board members at every event we host and they are available. We also have a number you can call or text anonymously at: (206) 659-8639
  3. What we do:
    1. First, we listen and validate when an issue is brought to us.
    2. Second, we try to categorize the severity of what has happened; please see our procedures page on  www.savoyswing.org and the examples below.
    3. Third, we will try to follow-up if appropriate. For the more serious cases this will involve the full committee, and any serious action like long-term suspensions will democratically involve the entire board.
    4. Example issues and responses:
      1) Uncomfortable (e.g. questionable consent in a dip -> targeted conversation with the dipper).
      2) Inappropriate (e.g. questionable or repeated sensitive area swipe -> more pointed conversation and a record of the event).
      3) Serious (e.g. harassment -> pointed conversation if safe, a record, ejection from the event,  and follow up action).
  4. When we will respond: At an event we will respond as soon as possible; we aim for within an hour. Outside of an event or for follow-up actions, we will have an acknowledgement of receipt of a complaint within 24  hours, a schedule for action within a week, and aim to have a finalized action within 8 weeks, to the best of our ability, and with respect for people’s capacity to share details.

And while we not licensed psychologists or legal experts, and thus cannot directly provide those services, we are always here to help connect you with resources. You are not alone.

If you are in attendance at another area event not managed by us you may still reach out to us, or connect with Syncopation foundation at saferspaces@syncopationfoundation.org or Revival Rhythm at revivalrhythm@gmail.com.