Danctuary : The idea
Updated: Jul 22, 2020
Dancing is beautiful.
Dancing is fun.
Dancing is therapeutic.
And full of life lessons.
I was introduced to partner dancing back in 2015. After a few years of learning and a dozen congresses, here I am trying to find ways to address one of the issues that is mortifyingly prevalent in dance scenes/cliques around the world. It is of safety. There are several aspects of safety in any performing art especially dancing. It can be physical, emotional, creative or financial- any of which can prove to be a major roadblock in any individual's dance journey. There are so many layers to safety and even more subjectivity associated with each of those layers. But even with all that subjectivity combined, we can still not deny the objective issue of safety. All of us as dancers, want and deserve a Sanctuary.
Danctuary is an attempt to create that global Dancer's Sanctuary. We believe in bringing together all dancers in one global connected community rather than multiple small cliques defined by the boundaries of dance studios, dance styles, cities, or even countries. We believe that with the right feedback and appropriate time, every person can grow to be an amazing dancer and also an amazing human being. We believe in the power of Collective Intelligence and try to harness that by channeling and normalizing feedback from all around the globe. Yes feedback. At the core of it, think of Danctuary as a feedback platform. You can come here and submit feedback for a fellow dancer. The feedback can range from compliments to tips/suggestions/advice to reports of misconduct.
You may want to give someone a simple compliment like you like their musicality, or they smell good, or you like how gentle or fluid or connected they are while they are dancing with you. Some people go ahead and give that compliment face to face but not all. And sometimes, hearing those kind words can make all the difference to someone.
You may want to tell someone that they need to make certain changes/adjustments to their dancing expression/technique in order to make dancing them more fun, but you may choose not to, fearing it might have been a one-off case or the other person might not be as receptive and appreciative of your feedback. But if 10 people in one night were to provide the same feedback to one person, think of all the difference it would make to their dancing, should they choose to accept it.
Best of all, what if an event organizer could look at conduct report of attendees and choose to not admit people who have been flagged multiple times for misconduct or risky behavior based on the feedback you provide.
One of the reasons why we do not directly pass on feedback is the fear of retaliation. This is where Danctuary as a platform comes in. All feedback is anonymous unless you explicitly choose it to not be anonymous. And all feedback is always collected and normalized before presenting it to the receiver. Also, we limit free text feedback and focus on a carefully curated list of topics and categories which will keep adapting and evolving to always be relevant to all parties involved - feedback provider, feedback receiver, event organizer.
Every feedback submitted triggers an internal evaluation and if any of the preset criteria is met, an action is triggered. For reports, we act have 3 actions - soft warning, hard warning, and blacklisting. A soft warning is issued to the reportee if the soft-warning threshold is met and the reporters are notified of the warning. A hard warning is issued to the reportee if the hard-warning threshold is met. This triggers notifications to all reporters and the event-organizers who hosted the events at which this reportee was reported. The final action is blacklisting the reportee if they continue to receive reports of misconduct even after soft and hard warnings. This notification is sent to the reportee, the reporters and the event-organizers as well. Once a user is blacklisted, they will not be able to checkin to any event that is using Danctuary app to check people in.
We are well aware of the subjectivity, the gray areas and the misuse potential of this feedback mechanism. And that is where we need help. We need to make sure that we put all safeguards in place and employ state-of-art algorithms to process reliable and abundant feedback so as to deliver what we are promising - A Dancer's Sanctuary.