As the Foundation for Community Dance present a series of Dance and Ethics events to explore professional codes of conduct within community dance I have began to wonder what my code of conduct really is.
Every individual believes that they behave acceptably (surely?) otherwise they would not be able to sleep at night but realisitically do they? Do I?
At college or during my professional life there has never been an occassion where anyone led me to question my code of conduct or introduced me to anything definitive to live by. In the arts in particular I wonder if this is because we are all so busy being artistic and creating that we neglect investing in the establishment of systems which will make our lives easier. Or, is it that we are such a diverse bunch in the dance world alone that we know instinctively it would be extremely difficult to attempt a general book of rules by which to abide.
In many respects the lack of time taken to analyse protocol leads to many a travesty in the dance world (it is also the reason we dancers are so bloody thick skinned!): Where else can people in our politically correct world reject your application for employment based on your hair colour/ height etc etc.? In what other job would an individual work whilst injured as they are so aware of how lucky they are to have a job at all? Where else would people have you travel hundreds of miles to an audition for which they already know who they will take? Where else can significant figures in dance development simply be disregarded and replaced without a valid reason? And so I could continue for days.
Arguably, we may not have a code of conduct as we are never all in one place long enough to discuss and establish one. Also, who would enforce this code of conduct? Everyone knows that people are eager to live by rules but should an opportunity arise that may lead to the rules requiring a bending people will do so with many a valid excuse. As a project based education artist it surprises me how often some colleges etc have no budget left to bring in the work of companies who are ran by old school rivals but if you contact them with another opportunity later in the year the funds are flowing and they are eager to spend them.
Integrity is the key. But what even is integrity other than a steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code and without that code in place integrity goes out of the window.
Therefore I am opening the discussion and debate to see if as an online community we can propose a code. Ten simple commandments which could simplify the politics of our world and leave us more time to ponder art forms as opposed to how we are meant to behave.