Ottawa Contra Dance

Code of Conduct

Ottawa Contra Dance has a code of conduct for all our events which we expect all our dance attendees to follow. This creates a safe, fun and comfortable atmosphere for all. It is intended to be informative, so that all dancers know what is appropriate, and allows our newer dancers to feel safe right from their first dance.

You will find the following Code of Conduct posted at all our dances:

Ottawa Contra Dance Code of Conduct


Ottawa Contra Dance promotes a lively dance style that can be elegant and, most importantly, fun! We strive to create a culture of safety, respect and consent. To support this we teach and promote appropriate and safe dancing. Anyone and everyone who would like to attend is welcome.

Please be sensitive and respectful of other dancers, the band and caller. Inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated. Some examples might include:

  • Dancing too close or not respecting the personal space of others,
  • Rough dancing, such as using too much strength, forcing a turn or swinging too fast,
  • Dipping or lifting your partner without consent or consideration for others,
  • Rudeness such as ordering people, or pushing them into place,
  • Inappropriate touching or harassment of any sort (e.g. verbal, sexual).

If you have any concerns, that you are not comfortable addressing yourself, then please speak directly with any dance committee member or the floor manager, who will all be wearing pink buttons.

Thank you for respecting this Code of Conduct and doing your part to maintain our joyful, safe, and respectful community.

In more detail


To expand upon this in more detail, this means:

  • Respect everyone's physical boundaries. Do not engage in inappropriate or unwanted physical contact. Be sensitive to other people's personal space, including dance floor space and physical proximity. Be conscious not to hold your dance partner too close.
  • Keep your partner safe. Don't engage in rough dancing, use too much strength, force turns or swing too fast.
  • Seek consent. Before dipping or lifting your partner ensure you have their consent and have consideration of other dancers around you.
  • Apologize for accidental touching. Inappropriate touching or harassment of any sort is not tolerated. If accidental inappropriate touching does occur please apologize.
  • Respect human rights. Anyone and everyone who would like to attend our dances is welcome. Be accepting of the diversity of people, ages, values and lifestyles that come with our vibrant dance community. Respect dancer's wishes to dance with any gender they choose.
  • Be welcoming. Do your best to dance with, and be kind and welcoming, to everyone.
  • Graciously accept when someone says 'no' to a dance. If you ask someone to dance and they say no, graciously accept their decision and move on. You can say 'no' to a dance too.
  • Be considerate and respectful to the dance organizers, volunteers, band and callers. The success of our events is due to the efforts of many. We all rely on them to make our dances fun and successful. Please respect, support and cooperate with them.

The dance committee reserves the right to refuse admittance, or ask an individual to leave, if we feel that there is a need to do so.

Do you have any concerns or questions? If you are comfortable in addressing any behaviour concerns yourself, then please feel free to. If you wish to have help, or your concerns are more serious (e.g. verbal or physical misconduct, harassment, ...) then please contract a committee member or the floor manager, who will all be wearing pink buttons at each dance. You can also reach our dance committee via Catherine Burns at dance@ottawacontra.ca, or at 613-725-3709.

Thank you for respecting this Code of Conduct and doing your part to maintain our joyful, safe, and respectful community.

If you'd like information on general dance etiquette, please check out our About Contra page.