Policy of Appropriate Physical Contact in Dance

Dance, and in particular classical ballet is a physical activity which, if done incorrectly can cause physical injury and/or harm.

Therefore, appropriate physical contact between students and teachers in class is essential to ballet training.

Teachers will use their hands, and occasionally a foot or knee, to illustrate a concept to a student or to adjust parts of a student’s body (especially with the younger students). Ballet posture often requires adjusting the rib-cage and the buttock area simultaneously and it is sometimes necessary to touch the inner thigh.

In pas de deux classes, teachers will be demonstrating with students in ways, which will involve supporting and lifting. In choreographic teaching, teachers demonstrate positions and movements to the students by moving parts of the students’ bodies and by moving dancers in relation to each other: this often involves a good deal of contact with students.

Downland Dance recognises that such physical contact is a potentially complex area; and the club also fully recognises its responsibilities for safeguarding students and teachers and for protecting their welfare.

All touching will only be undertaken if the student’s welfare is best served by it.

The following principles and procedures are in place to fulfill the club’s obligations:

  1. Contact will be made with particular awareness of the needs of each individual, to assist the young dancer in correcting placement
  2. All teachers will treat any physical contact with due sensitivity and care
  3. Contact will not involve force or the use of any instrument
  4. Teachers will be mindful of location and avoid situations where they are isolated with a student; all classes should be held in studios and dance areas
  5. Teachers and students should feel free to report any concerns to the Chair of the club committee or another teacher