rev. Dec 2019

Everyone attending a Pittsburgh Ballroom event is subject to the policies set forth in this document. Attendance at a Pittsburgh Ballroom event constitutes non-belligerent acceptance to abide by its principles. People who do not follow these policies may be asked to leave the event without refund. Verbal or written complaints brought to us will be taken seriously and handled with confidentiality and care among the Safer Spaces Staff members.

Code of Conduct

Our goal at Pittsburgh Ballroom is to create an inclusive and welcoming event (and wider dance community) where all people can enjoy social dancing and music in a safe and comfortable environment. We welcome dancers of all experience levels, and all people regardless of race, religion, nationality, physical ability, mental ability, gender, sexual orientation, physical appearance, or age. We expect all attendees to treat everyone with respect regardless of the factors mentioned above.

When social dancing, our mission is to dance with different people. That said:

  • Right to Refusal – Everyone has the right to decline or leave a dance, with or without explanation. Please do not take it personally if someone says no to a dance with you, if they dance with someone else during that song, or if they leave a dance mid-song. Keep in mind that there are many possible reasons for someone not dancing with you, and respect that nobody owes anybody else a dance. 
  • Unsolicited Feedback – Speak up if you are uncomfortable, in pain, or at risk of being hurt. Do NOT critique, criticize, or teach on the dance floor unless specifically asked.
  • Forced Connections – some styles of dancing involve closer embrace; this does not mean you force your body against your partner. Please be considerate of the needs of your partner in terms of closeness, energy level, and connection type. The less-comfortable partner sets the boundary; switch to a more open embrace if your partner resists a tighter pull or if you notice non-verbal signals like body stiffening, hesitation, etc. If you are unsure about what connection is appropriate for your partner, ask. Dances are a conversation — listen to each other!
  • Aerials and Dips Aerials are not allowed on our social dance floors. Please do NOT do weight-bearing moves, such as deep dips, without checking with your partner first.
  • Romantic Advances – Do not interpret dance connection as attraction. It is not appropriate to ask your partner out while dancing.
  • Public Displays of Affection – Please refrain from overtly sexualized activities on the dance floor (e.g., grinding, making out, roaming hands). Dancing can be close; this does not mean it is sexual. 

Safer Spaces Violations

Everyone attending a Pittsburgh Ballroom event is expected to respect the boundaries of others on and off the dance floor. If you are hurt or made to feel unsafe or uncomfortable in any way by a fellow attendee, please immediately bring this to the attention of any Pittsburgh Ballroom board member who can bring it to a Safer Spaces Staff member (listed at the end of the document). 

If someone tells you that something you are doing is hurting anyone, or making anyone feel unsafe or uncomfortable, immediately stop the behavior. We understand that it can be challenging not to take this feedback personally, and we hope that you can see it as a learning opportunity. 

Even if you are not directly involved — if you notice someone is hurting a fellow attendee or causing them to feel unsafe or uncomfortable, we still ask that you bring this to the attention of a Pittsburgh Ballroom board member.

Anyone who does or says something inappropriate, disrespectful, overtly sexual, illegal, dangerous, or otherwise violates any of the policies set forth here will face consequences up to and including immediate removal from the event, banning from future events, and legal action. Attendance at a Pittsburgh Ballroom event constitutes non-belligerent acceptance of these terms.

We reserve the right to ban individuals from attending any Pittsburgh Ballroom event. 

For example, if anyone is: 

  • A convicted sexual offender
  • Currently being tried for a sexual offense
  • Has a Protection from Abuse (PFA) against them
  • Has a restraining order against them

This person may be refused entrance and/or removed from all Pittsburgh Ballroom events. Please notify a Pittsburgh Ballroom board member if you know of any such individual who may plan to attend any Pittsburgh Ballroom event.

Any person who has previously been reported for inappropriate and/or criminal behavior by a member of the social dance community may be banned and/or removed from our event. Please make concerns known to a board member before, during, or after the event.

Safer Spaces Procedures

When you bring an issue to a member of the Safer Spaces Staff, you can expect:

  • An initial conversation away from other attendees
  • Confidentiality within the Safer Spaces Staff (unless we feel someone is in immediate danger)
  • You will be asked how you would like the situation to be handled
  • The staff member will share the situation with additional Safer Spaces Staff members
  • The Safer Spaces Staff will then determine next steps in consultation with you

Some next steps may include the reported person being: 

  • Monitored, but not approached, to keep an eye on them for further issues
  • Spoken to directly about their behavior and asked to stop
  • Removed from the event, and/or banned from future events
  • Reported to venue security and/or police

If the resolution of any of these issues is not satisfactory, then you may be entitled to a refund (if applicable) at the discretion of the Safer Spaces Staff.

Thanks to Pittsburgh’s Hot Metal Blues community for earlier versions of this document.