COVID & Safety Policy


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COVID-19 Policy

Mission Statement:
We intend to hold our dance in the safest way possible, keeping in mind that it is a dance, with people who are breathing close to one another. While we can’t claim this is a “low risk” activity, we can reopen with the intention of making the dance as safe as it can be, within our ability. This includes masks, contact tracing, window ventilation, and reviewing local COVID severity levels. Dancers who attend come to the dance at their own risk.

  • All attendees must wear well-fitted masks, and masks must be worn throughout the entire dance, whenever indoors, except briefly while taking a drink. Acceptable masks are N95, KN95, KF94, or better. Masks will be available at the front desk (donations if you require a mask are encouraged). Performers may request to wear a surgical mask (or no mask) while on-stage, if they provide a day-of negative rapid test.
  • Vaccination (primary and up-to-date boosters) are recommended but proof is not currently required.
  • Windows and doors will be kept open, and fans will be used to promote airflow throughout the hall to the best of our ability.
  • Attendees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms within 7 days after a DACD dance are asked to contact DACD as soon as possible. DACD will let attendees know if there have been any reported exposures.
  • DACD will decide whether or not to hold each dance based on current COVID numbers in Hampshire and surrounding counties.
  • DACD will provide updated notice of its safety requirements and keep a copy at the dance. Policies may and will change as conditions change, and we will do our best to inform dancers as soon as possible of any changes.

Safety Policy

We aim to have participants fulfill our values at our events:

  • Inclusion: We include attendees of all genders, races, sexual orientations, bodies, abilities, ages, and backgrounds. We actively work to offer events that create inclusive spaces and that do not present barriers to participation.
  • Safety: We strive to create an environment where attendees can feel safe to express themselves and to have fun. Dancing should be done with consciousness of physical safety of self and other attendees.
  • Respect: We respect each other as people. We believe that all attendees have something valuable to offer. We trust that our attendees will show this respect.
  • Fun: We want to have fun! We love contra dancing as an art form, social experience, and recreational activity. We want to share that love with others, and we want to connect everyone with the joy of contra dancing.
  • Supporting new attendees: We want the Downtown Amherst Contra Dance to be a place where new attendees can discover and experience contra dancing. We offer lessons, dances that are easy to learn, and we encourage experienced dancers to help new attendees learn.
  • Supporting students: We aim to introduce students to contra dancing. We aim to foster connections between students and the broader community of local dancers. We aim to support local student contra dance groups.
  • Supporting local performers: We recognize the amazing music being created by local folk musicians and wish to provide opportunities for growth of local musicians and callers.

Anti-Harassment Policy

Downtown Amherst Contra is dedicated to providing harassment-free events for everyone, regardless of gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, or religion (or lack thereof). We do not tolerate harassment of event participants in any form.

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to sex, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, and religion.

It also includes sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Participants should feel comfortable to tell any other participant to stop an action or behavior, without explanation required at the time. Any request to stop should be honored, whether a perceived miscommunication or not. Participants are welcome to bring comments, complaints, and/or disputes to Downtown Amherst Contra committee members to help facilitate resolution.

Participants asked by Downtown Amherst Contra committee members to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the Downtown Amherst Contra committee members may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender, up to and including expelling them from the event and/or future events.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please alert a Downtown Amherst Contra committee member immediately.

Photography Policy

For the purposes of the policy, "commercial use" is defined as use for sale, promotion, or other fundraising by a person, group, business, or non-profit group. This includes the photo in original or edited forms, regardless of how small a portion of the photo is used.

Examples of "non-commercial" use include sharing with friends on personal, non-commercial social media accounts and printing and viewing photographs for personal viewing

  • All subjects have the right to tell a photographer or dance manager to not be photographed. This excludes group shots, however, in that case, if the subject has objected, the photograph should not include their face. (Blurry crowd shot okay.)
  • All photographs shall be considered for non-commercial purposes only unless the photographer has obtained permission from the dance manager on duty, or the Downtown Amherst Contra Committee (or a duly appointed representative) in advance.
  • A photographer may request the Downtown Amherst Contra Committee to have commercial use of a photo after the fact, but all visible subjects in the photo must be identified and permission obtained by the photographer.
  • An announcement by a Downtown Amherst Committee member must be made *in advance* of a photographer taking any photos taken for commercial use, so that all present know that they can opt out of having their face included on any photos intended for commercial use, also that they know who the photographer is. Additionally, a second announcement during break is recommended.
  • This photo policy shall be made available and kept up to date on the website.
  • An effort shall be made by the Downtown Amherst Contra Committee to communicate this policy with known local photographers.

Dance Behavior

Here are ways everyone can put our values into practice:

  • DO ask a variety of people to dance.
  • DO ask partners what role they prefer to dance.
  • DO “dance with who’s comin’ atcha” regardless of perceived gender.

  • DON’T feel obligated to accept a dance invitation.
  • DO gracefully decline an offer to dance if you choose.
  • DO gracefully accept a refusal, and DON'T insist upon a reason.

  • DO be aware of your own body and the dancers around you.
  • DO dance with the whole set.
  • DON’T force flourishes.
  • DO perform flourishes safely, on time, and with consent.
  • DON’T perform aerials.
  • DON’T perform dips in crowded spaces.
  • DON'T perform dips without explicit consent.
  • DO respect peoples’ requests to adjust your dancing for safety or comfort.

  • DO be friendly to attendees.
  • DON’T use derogatory or discriminatory language.
  • DO use peoples' stated name and pronouns.
  • DON’T be physically or verbally aggressive.
  • DON’T be disruptive to the performers.

DO approach the committee with any issues or concerns.

Weapon Policy

Weapons are not permitted at our dance. “Weapon” is defined as any firearm, explosive, knife, sword, club, bow or other object that has been designed with the intent to inflict bodily harm or physical damage to property. Downtown Amherst Contra committee members have discretion to interpret this definition, and to ask a dancer to leave or remove the weapon from the property.

Substance Policy

Our dances are smoke, drug, and alcohol free. We reserve the right to ask inebriated individuals to leave the dance for the evening.

Scent Free Policy

Please refrain from wearing fragrances or scented products.

Complaint Response and Disciplinary Process:

  • We will listen to and discuss all complaints.
  • We will respect requests for anonymity except for emergencies.
  • We will follow up with any safety or harassment concerns that are brought to our attention.
  • We will take actions as appropriate.