24 - 27 May 2024
24 - 27

Culture and community expectations at dance events

If you are a new dancer
  • Don't be afraid to ask anyone to dance. Experienced dancers are usually happy to help new dancers learn.
  • Trust the caller. They are trained to lead the dance and know what they are doing.
  • If you need it, ask for another walk-through. The caller will be happy to go over the dance again.

If you are an experienced dancer
  • Walk through the dance fully without flourishes and don’t talk over the caller.
  • Only touch other dancers as the dance requires it. Pushing or pulling is never helpful. You can guide other dancers using your eyes or gestures.
  • Variations and flourishes are welcome, but try to be in the right place at the right time.
  • Ask if someone is okay with you doing a variation or flourish if you're not sure.

Asking people to dance
  • Anyone can ask anyone to dance. If you see someone you would like to dance with, simply approach them and ask. Be polite and respectful, and be prepared to accept a no.
  • If someone asks you to dance, you are free to accept or decline. There is no need to feel obligated to dance with someone just because they asked.
  • Respect other dancers' boundaries.
  • If you’re not sure what someone is comfortable with (e.g., swing holds), ask them.

Community guidelines
  • We want everyone to feel comfortable and respected, regardless of their background or identity. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any time, please don't hesitate to speak up.
    • Tell the person who is making you uncomfortable.
    • Ask a venue manager or another member of the organising team for help. These people are here to support you.
  • We want everyone to have a positive experience at Chippenham Folk Festival. If you see something, say something. Together, we can create a safe and inclusive community for everyone.
  • We reserve the right to ask any person causing others to feel uncomfortable or unsafe to leave.

Injuries and disabilities
  • Be aware that other people may have injuries or physical limitations that you don't know about.

“Dance with who’s coming at you”
  • Anyone can dance either role at any time, and anyone can dance with anyone, regardless of gender or presentation.
  • Trust people to be dancing the role they want to dance, regardless of their appearance, and that they’ll communicate if they’re confused or need reassurance about where they are meant to be.

Calling styles
  • A range of calling/teaching styles will be used over the course of the weekend. The calling/teaching style for each ceilidh and folk dance event is specified in its event description.
    • The code (P) indicates that an event will be called/taught positionally (i.e., emphasising patterns, flow and relationships between dancers, e.g., neighbour, opposite, people facing the windows, first corners, and using those ideas rather than role terms).
    • The code (G) indicates that an event will be called/taught with some use of gendered role terms (e.g., men/women, ladies/gents).
    • The code (A) indicates that an event will be called/taught with some use of nongendered role terms (e.g., larks/robins or, for some couple dances, lead/follow) instead.
  • Any feedback regarding the choice of calling/teaching style for a particular event should be directed to the relevant artistic manager, not to callers during the festival. These people are:

  • We're keen to receive your feedback. All feedback received will be reviewed after the festival and taken into account when shaping plans for future years.
  • Feedback specifically relating to the folk dance and ceilidh aspects of the festival can be sent to folk.dance@chippfolk.co.uk and ceilidh@chippfolk.co.uk.
  • Feedback on the festival more generally can be sent to contactus@chippfolk.co.uk