Esquina Tango Safe Space Policy*

Esquina Tango Austin is committed to creating and maintaining a safe, welcoming, and respectful space for our community members. We provide a harassment-free experience for every participant and staff member, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, physical appearance, body size, age, race, or dance ability.

We do not tolerate harassment of any form. Anyone engaging in disruptive, harassing, or violent behavior may be expelled from an event without a refund. There may be additional actions taken against individuals based on the severity and frequency of offenses committed. Decisions resulting from these kinds of actions are at the discretion of the Esquina Tango staff, leadership, and the Board of Directors.

Code of Conduct and Desired Community Norms

Esquina Tango Austin is a community which strives to be supportive, welcoming, and friendly to all people from all walks of life. We work to develop a safe and empowering space in which to learn and dance, and to dismantle oppressive systems and the prejudicial treatment of others based on race, gender, and sexual orientation. Esquina is a community that strives to bring people together. Whether you are a dancer, instructor, musician, organizer, new to the dance scene, or have been dancing your whole life, you matter and you belong here.

We invite you to join us in this endeavor by adopting these guidelines at all Esquina sponsored classes and events:

· Classroom/Learning Activities: At Esquina Tango, we pride ourselves in having some of the most talented instructors. Some may even be teaching at no cost to you so please come to class ready to learn and in the right frame of mind. Students are expected to follow the instructions of instructors to insure classes go smoothly and the learning experience is maximized. Instructors have the authority to remove students from a class if they are unpleasant, disruptive, and/or behaving in an unsafe manner.

Refrain from bringing alcohol to class unless the activity specifies this is acceptable (e.g. “Tango and Malbec”).
Come to class sober. Many classes at Esquina are physically demanding. Being inebriated in class can create a safety risk to yourself and others, not to mention a bad social experience.
Come prepared for class. Proper shoes and attire will go a long way in dance classes. Please also be aware of class pre-work instructors may send you ahead of time.

· Respect and Consideration: While at an Esquina event, display respect for yourself and others by taking ownership of your words and actions We value all individuals regardless of age, race, religion, nationality, creed, sex, gender expression, sexual orientation, weight, ability, dance skill, politics and political affiliation, lifestyle, and personal boundaries. We treat each other with respect and act with consideration and compassion, even when we witness others who are not behaving respectfully. You are responsible for your actions.

· Establish Consent: At all times, respect each other’s physical and emotional safety, both on and off the dance floor. Assume consent is not established unless you hear a “yes. In other words, ask permission before initiating dips, hugs, kisses, and more intimate relationships. Most important, remember that consent cannot be established if someone is coerced, under the influence, or unconscious. Consent is a verbal agreement and not to be assumed.

· Speak up! If and when you feel someone has violated a personal boundary, endeavor to be courageous with your words to communicate what you want. Staff at Esquina will support you and back you up if you need help. We also recognize it is possible to violate a boundary unintentionally, so be open and humble if you are made aware of such a situation.

· Saying Yes! And No! We encourage those who want to say “yes” to do so enthusiastically, and those who want to say “no” or “not now” (for any reason) to do so with courage and conviction. If you receive a “no” or “not now,” accept it graciously.

· Dance Roles: At Esquina, we embrace individual freedom to dance in any role, regardless of historical gender expectations. We celebrate dance, and that includes dancing in whichever role you prefer at the moment.

· Feedback at Dances: Refrain from giving feedback during social dances unless it is expressly requested or the behavior in question is painful or potentially dangerous. If feedback is solicited, understand that you are under no obligation to provide it. If you receive unsolicited feedback, respond graciously with a statement that is clear and sets your boundary, “I prefer feedback to be given only during lessons,” for example.

· Lifts and Floorcraft: Lifts have a place in workshops, competitions, demos, and performances, not on the social dance floor. Regardless of the role you are dancing, always be conscious of those around you, practice good floorcraft, and observe your behavior.

· Overt Sexuality: Be conscientious regarding public displays of affection. Dancing can be sexy, but the appropriate place for overt sexual behavior is not on the dance floor. Everyone around you has not consented, so Esquina cannot support this behavior.

Final WordsWe’re All in This Together: We recognize that not everyone will follow all of these guidelines at all times. Things happen when people are having fun and enjoying themselves, but that is no excuse for violating someone else’s personal boundaries. That is where Esquina, the organization, will back you up.

We’re all in this together. Keep track of how you impact other people as well as how others are being in the community space. Deal with issues as they arise yet let Esquina know if something is recurring or beyond your comfort zone.

If a person’s behavior does not align with this code of conduct, Esquina Tango Austin reserves the right to take action. The organization’s response may range anywhere from having a conversation and setting clear expectations, to a permanent ban from all Esquina classes and events.

Questions, Complaints, and Information
If something happens in violation of Safe Space Policies, and you need assistance, reach out to an Esquina staff member, send a message through the form below, or contact us at 512-524-2772

* Adapted for Esquina from Neo Kizomba Safe Space Policy, with thanks and appreciation