Safety and Boundaries
Physical and emotional safety is important, and is everyone’s responsibility. However, ultimately each person can only be responsible for themselves. You are responsible for yourself. Please consider the following:
- 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 (for any reason) 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, using good communication skills, taking responsibility for your own feelings, using “I” statements and refraining from blaming or projecting if possible.
- If you need help, you can ask a Core 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. Practice listening to non-verbal cues.
- If you need clarification, ask your partners for verbal feedback in the spirit of clearing up any confusion or ambiguity. Sometimes a partner may not be able to express why it was necessary to exit a dance – remember there is no obligation for anyone to offer “an apology, accommodation, or explanation.” This person may need time to form an answer and/or may come back to you later to continue the conversation. Practice hearing feedback without becoming defensive.
[Adapted from the Boulder Contact Improv lab guidelines, by Asheville contact improv organizers]