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I am committed to providing an inclusive, safe, and welcoming experience. I value diversity and strive to be inclusive. I welcome participation from a variety of ability and ages, all gender identifications, sexual orientations, body sizes, races, religions, and cultural backgrounds.

In my classes, participants and instructor make these mutual commitments:

Commitment 1: consent

Partner dancing involves implied consent to touch other people who agree to dance with you. That agreement is limited to hands/arms, shoulders/upper back, hip bones, and (less often) rib cages and knees.

If I teach something that may involve touch in other places, we’ll discuss it first and you’ll have the opportunity to sit out or request a modification.

If you want to touch a dance partner in other places, ask their explicit consent first.

Sometimes, the unexpected happens: apologize and discuss how to do better when it does.

Commitment 2: communicate & respect boundaries

I strive to provide a respectful and comfortable learning and dance experience and do not tolerate harassment in any form. This includes:

  • Uninvited sexual language and sexual touch. If you feel that something said or done was over the line, please speak up or talk to me privately (including if it’s something I have said or done).
  • Violation of personal boundaries. Teachers and participants must respect each others’ personal boundaries, which requires communicating what our boundaries are.
  • Harassment, abuse, or aggression in any form. This includes but is not limited to disrespect based on a person’s race, gender, appearance, or sexual identity.

Commitment 3: respect roles

I respect each dancer’s choice to choose their role (lead or follow), as well as the choice to switch/try both roles in a class, all regardless of gender.

Sometimes, switching roles in class creates problems for the rotation or flow of the class, so if you wish to try both roles, please talk to me before we begin.

Please respect my role as instructor by not explaining or interpreting my instruction for others. Instead, ask me for clarification when required so we can all learn better.

EXTRA! Tips on how to be socially successful

Social dancing is an amazing activity to hone social skills. Set yourself up for success in these ways:


  • Respect the Commitments above.
  • Assume everyone is doing the best they can in that moment. Each of us is at a different place on our dance journey and the journey is not always linear.


  • Introduce yourself before you ask someone new to dance: ask their name, tell them yours. Thank them when the dance is over.
  • If something positive stood out to you about the dance, tell your partner. (“Wow, your connection feels great!”, “You led me through moves I didn’t know I could do!”, “Your styling ideas were inspiring for me.”, “That was so much fun!” …)
  • To decline a dance, smile and say “no, thank you”, or “not just now, please ask me again later”. If someone declines a dance with you, do not ask them to change their mind.


  • Never give unsolicited advice or correction to partners in class or on the dance floor. The exception is if something hurts or is uncomfortable, you should tell your partner how you feel (“My shoulder is sore today”, “That movement isn’t comfortable for me” “I did a leg workout yesterday and I can’t support myself in dips today”, etc.).
  • Be clean and fresh but avoid wearing perfume/cologne. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap before dancing and after using a bathroom or eating. Wear freshly laundered clothing and brush your teeth before dancing. (Always pack a toothbrush and toothpaste in your dance bag!)


  • If you are sneezing, coughing, feverish, or experiencing other signs of illness, do not come to class/go out dancing.
  • If you are injured, do not enter class rotations or go social dancing — it is unreasonable to expect that every partner will have the skill or presence of mind to avoid specific movements or connections that you cannot tolerate. In these circumstances, you might dance only with a trusted partner, or redirect your dance time toward healing.

~Maria Ford, operating as Smoothstyle


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