AMC holds consent as an upmost priority and considers it a pillar to our efforts of upholding our mission, vision, and aim. As we continue to grow and consider stepping into larger visions of responsibility with owning or leasing a building, there is an increased need for clear, supportive space-holding and consent policies. In December of 2023, we will be releasing the culmination of the year’s efforts and learnings around consent in the form of the AMC Consent Policy & Code of Conduct. Cultivating a culture of safety and consent is an ongoing learning process, we are all in this together.
Please email to let us know if you have feedback on these efforts or are interested in supporting. Please email to report any consent related issue or do so through our online form.
In 2023, the Asheville Movement Collective established the Consent Circle. The Consent Circle is a group of dancers who volunteer their time towards our efforts in creating and actualizing a culture of consent. Within this circle are the Incident Responders. These are two paid positions with more extensive training in the handling of incidents and harm.
Currently the members of the consent team include Cat Hay, Marta Martín, Sara Bensman, and Ran Johnson. The members also work with a hired third party with expertise in sexual violence and systemic oppression in handling more complicated matters.
Defining “Space Holding”
We define space-holding as creating and upholding a set of guidelines and community agreements that supports our aim towards “a world that moves in harmony where all are free to be their authentic selves within a loving community.”
Specifically, these guidelines should seek to balance the freedom and safety of each individual and the community as a whole, regardless of factors like race, gender, culture, religious beliefs, etc. You can find our dance guidelines here.
Consent is often defined as an enthusiastic yes spoken in the absence of coercion, intimidation, or drugs or alcohol. It can also be defined as mutual agreement where all parties are informed and free to make a voluntary choice.
Consent matters because without asking questions and making agreements, we end up making assumptions about what’s ok and what’s not ok – and too often those assumptions lead to harm in the form of crossed boundaries and violation.
When we build our skills of practicing good consent, we radically shift the non-consensual world we live in by affirming and respecting each other’s agency and autonomy.
There’s some things that make consent complex, such as power. Power is our ability to influence. When unbalanced power dynamics exist, our ability to give and receive consent is compromised.
If a no is not available, then a yes is not valid!
Power shows up between students and teachers, employees and bosses – but we also hold power when we have privilege attached to our social identities. Recognizing the ways in which we hold power and privilege is necessary to the practice of consent. With great power comes great responsibility. This is as true on the dance floor as it is anywhere.
What if someone says no?
A no is not something to be taken personally. While receiving a no can be a scary thing to hear, it can also be a scary thing to say. The more practice we have giving and receiving no, the easier it gets.
Our boundaries mark the edges between what is ok for us and what is not ok for us. We can get more familiar with our boundaries by feeling into our bodies and noticing sensations that communicate comfort or discomfort in response to situations.
The skills of practicing good consent are revolutionary. When we:
- Recognize our power and minimize the effects
- Ask rather than assume
- Know our boundaries and communicate them
- Receive a no gracefully
- Remember that we can always change our minds
At AMC we are committed to fostering a community of consent. For more information visit our calendar of events for when our next consent lab is being held!