Guidelines for attending Jams

Some basic information on attending the jams

  • The jams are open to all levels of experience, including total beginners.
  • Organization is done by volunteers. We collect a contribution which is used to pay the room, and, for classes, some payment for instructors.
  • We always start with an introduction and warm-up. We are community-run group organised by volunteers, so it’s possible that on some occasions there may not be an experienced dancer or teacher present who is able to lead the warm-up into the jam. In this event, you’ll be expected to warm yourself up in whatever way feels appropriate to ensure that you settle yourself into the space, check out what you need for that day, and gradually find your way into contact with others.
  • Please be in time. Introduction the warm-up are important because they help to focus, increase awareness of the body and help to prevent injuries.
  • If you have small injuries or have limitations which need to be observed, such as knee injuries or back problems, tell this in the opening circle. We try to be gentle and careful with each other. At some places, some jammers use tape to attach tape an x to an injured joint or body part, as a reminder to be careful.
  • In a jam,  you are responsible for yourself at all times. If you are a beginner, do not do things which feel uncomfortable, painful or outside of your physical control.
  • Keep nails as short as possible, that can help to prevent injuries.
  • Please bring comfortable clothes which allow you to move freely. We dance without shoes. Bring socks and a jumper, we might start with a bit of massage during the warm-up phase and, depending on the venue and season, the floor might still be cool in the beginning. Non-skid socks (those with rubber-coated bottom) are a very good idea. When it is icy outside, the room might take a while to heat up, so feel free to bring wrist-warmers and a woolly hat, too.
  • At larger jams, it is sometimes suggested not to use perfumes as some people have difficulty tolerating them.  If in doubt just use deodorant 🙂
  • Some water in a non-breakable bottle is good to have if you get warm. Drinking a bit of water can also help if you feel dizzy.
  • For beginners, it is not necessarily easy to go in and start dancing with others. Give yourself time to become used to the space. If you are not used to being in close touch or are not sure what your limits are, give yourself time. It is often helpful to move and dance by oneself and focus on feeling in place of thinking. Know that you can experiment and step out at any time.

A few basic safety rules if you come the first time

Most of them are common sense, and some matter more for larger jams with dozens of people. Basically try to be aware of what you do and how it affects the safety of others.

  • First of all, take care of yourself.
  • Tell others if they need to be careful with your knees, back, possible injuries and so on.
  • In a jam, you are responsible for warming up yourself. This is different from a class with a qualified teacher.
  • An important rule: Avoid to grab people, this makes it harder for them to use hands and feet and care for themselves. This is especially important if people are slipping off unexpectedly: In contact improvisation, we use hands and feet as landing pads to land safely, so we need to have them free.
  • At the beginning, do not go faster than you are comfortable with, and look where you go.
  • If you feel tired, dizzy, need a break, or are not comfortable with a specific dance partner, it is perfectly OK to leave a dance, with or without explaining why.
  • The space of the jam is protected and matters a lot to us. It is important to us that any interaction is consensual and that the jam space is safe and respectful for everyone, at all times. If there are any problems, we the organisers, would like to know about that, and we are there to help.
  • Please do not wear jewellery which might become entangled, such as large earrings, or long necklaces. Also, don’t wear long shawls around the neck which might become entangled in turns.
  • When jumping and rolling, be careful with your fingers, and do not put pressure on your knees or the knees of other people. Apart from that, you will probably be surprised about how much weight you can be comfortable with. When rolling, prefer to put weight on the hip, not the chest.
  • If you become warm and take off your socks or a sweater, make sure to put it well at the margin of the dance floor so that people cannot slip on them and fall.
  • If you rest on the floor or go very slowly, go to the margin of the space if anyone is moving faster.
  • Don’t drink any alcohol before jams nor participate if taking any drugs which impair your awareness or presence of mind. You need a quick reaction to move safely. If you need to take medication please talk with the group.
  • And of course, have fun!

 

 

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