Code of Conduct
Our code of conduct is a helpful guide that illustrates the vision we have for the community that we all share in. Outlined below are general rules and helpful tips for how to make the most of your experiences at our events, if you have any questions or comments regarding it please don’t hesitate to contact us.
UDC Code of Conduct
We, The Underground Dance Community (UDC), passionately enjoy both swing music and dancing and love to share our passion with others. We offer and value a welcoming community that focuses on exploring the dance, music, and history of swing in order to provide technically sound instruction of it as well as with find enjoyment in doing so.
We believe in humor and the power of not taking oneself seriously. We intend for our events to be a release from the various struggles life throws at us in order to allow for a time and place in which people can gather and enjoy experiences together. We believe that the world is micro-managed and that after a day of work, deadlines, TPS reports, and bosses you should be able to unwind in an environment where you can see and participate in something real. In order to foster an environment where that can happen, we have instituted some guidelines that will be conducive to that end. They are as follows:
1. Our events are a place that is open to everyone regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race, disability, physical appearance, religion, whatever. We do not tolerate harassment of any kind. Some examples of harassment are offensive verbal comments, unwanted photography or recording, intimidation, stalking, unwelcome sexual attention, and inappropriate physical contact.
2. Don’t treat the UDC like a pick-up joint. Our patrons are not just a large pool of people for you to hit on. If you engage in this kind of behavior and make our patrons uncomfortable, we will take extreme pleasure in escorting you to the door.
3. Any attendee asked to stop any harassing behavior is expected to comply immediately. Consequences for any inappropriate behavior may range from a staff member speaking to the offender to being ejected from the event without refund and possibly banned from future events. It is up to our discretion.
4. No underage drinking is allowed at UDC events.
Should you have any harassment-related complaints, if you see others being harassed, or have any questions, please bring your concerns to any member of the staff. We will treat these issues with the strictest confidentiality and importance—your courage in coming forward can keep incidents from being repeated. Not sure who’s on staff? Look for whoever is behind the DJ booth, they will be more than willing to point you in the right direction.
The world of dance is a culture in and of itself and as such has certain guidelines for etiquette to help maximize your experience while at any dance related event.
1. Dancing is a physical activity—you will sweat. Please be conscious of your level of sweat. Wearing shirts and tops that cover your entire back, wearing deodorant to prevent excessive body odor, bringing extra shirts and handkerchiefs, and spending time cooling off outside or by the fans will help with this. If you are going to wear a skirt or dress, be sure to wear undershorts along with it.
2. Do not offer unsolicited advice or instruction to your fellow students at any time unless they are physically hurting you, this applies to the classroom as well as the social floor. In our experience the people who do this are usually wrong (and always annoying). Asking if you can give them advice, such as something along the lines of, “Can I help you with your Lindy Hop?” is the exact same as offering unsolicited advice, so do not do that.
3. Sometimes people will say no when you ask them to dance—that’s perfectly fine. There are many reasons a person may not want to dance, such as they’re tired, they intended to dance with someone else that song, they may have something else to do, they may not like the song, they may just not feel like dancing with you, whatever. If a person turns you down, do not keep asking them until they accept, this qualifies as rude and annoying.
4. While dancing, be mindful of what else is happening on the dance floor. Keep an eye on your partner and the people dancing around you so that you do not get hurt or hurt anyone else. If you do happen to hit or have your partner hit someone, acknowledge it, try to make quick eye contact to assess the damage, and, if everyone seems fine and unhurt, offer a simple apology. If it is serious, leave the dance floor and address it accordingly.
5. You may ask anyone to dance. “Would you like to dance?” “Care to dance?” “May I have this dance?” are all fine. What is not fine is silently extending your hand to someone and expecting them to jump at the chance to dance with you. Or grabbing someone and pulling them onto the floor.
The dance community brings together a diverse crowd of people. Respecting yourself, your dance partner, and generally behaving like an adult human being is the condensed version of our entire code of conduct.
What styles of dance does the Underground offer?
- Our regular Monday nights are focused on Swing dancing with an emphasis on Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa, and East Coast. Our classes cover the technical aspects of each of these styles, which will help hone your skill, ability, and creativity as a swing dancer.
Who can come to dance?
- Anyone and everyone! We want YOU! We love beginners and seasoned dancers alike. We are enthusiastic about the music, the movement, and the history behind what we do. We have fun, come have fun too.
Do I need to bring a partner?
- No, all you need is yourself and a pair of dance shoes!
What about lessons outside of Mondays?
- Occasionally we will host a mini-workshop or event. This will be posted on the website and Facebook group.
- Private lessons are also available, from a variety of our instructors.
- See also: why are we so obsessed with travel?
Why are we so obsessed with travel?
- Did you know you can travel the world for Swing Dancing? Weekend dance events happen year round and all across the country, and are a fantastic experience every dancer should have. We often have local dancers heading out to one of these, so feel free to hop in a car and see what dancing is really all about!
- You get to meet dancers from all over! Sometimes just within a couple states, sometimes from across the country, and sometimes from across the world! You make friends at these events, people who are passionate about dance, just like you. Their styles are different, they know different things, they challenge us as dancers, and most of the same people travel so a friend you make at one weekend event in one state you’ll probably see again at another.
- The DANCING. So much floor time your body won’t know what hit it. Dancing all night, dancing all day, what you may not realize while you’re tearing up the floor is that your skills are going to be forever changed after the weekend. So much time to perfect that *one* move you’ve been working on, or to experiment with that musicality you’ve wanted to sharpen. Or sometimes you’re not even trying to improve, but you come back home and realize you’re a changed dancer. It happens.
- The music! DJs and Bands from across the country come to these events, bringing their a-game. For YOU. The variety in styles and music will treat your feet to a weekend of new sounds, new rhythms, and energy that courses through the dance hall like nothing you’ve experienced before, plus it’s just enjoyable to listen to.
- The instructors- from regional to world-class, instructors at weekend events challenge us and bring complex material to the table during dance classes at these events.
How can I become more involved with the Underground?
- If you’d like to become a DJ, or an instructor, or help with the organizational aspect of things, talk to any one of our staff members to get started!
Do we go dance at other places around Grand Rapids?
- Yes, we also go out to the Grand Rapids Original Swing Society that meets at 7 pm on Tuesday evenings. For more information of different events that we attend around Grand Rapids, check our facebook page or attend the announcements portion of the evening each Monday.