Open Letter to the WSDC

Open Letter to WSDC

published and sent per email on October 16, 2021 19:00 CEST

Dear World Swing Dance Council,

The Berlin Swing Revolution Team is very disappointed by your decision. We invest our spare time and energy to bring back safe dancing and competitions for the local and international community. It is not understandable for us how you think your decision is “emphasizing safety, integrity and fairness” or “foster(ing) swing dancing around the world”

You say that you want to emphasize the safety of events. At the same time, your decision is actually doing the opposite of that. Holding a dance event in an open space like a hotel is not only forbidden by local COVID-19 regulations at the moment, it also makes the event less secure. A hotel hosts many more people, who are not held to the same high safety standard we set up for our event. Werk36 would have allowed us to closely control the dance bubble, reducing the risk of exposure as much as possible, allowing dancers to once again come back together, socialize, learn, dance and compete - after almost 2 years of nothing.

In May, you talked about relaxing the rules for event venues, instead you increased the burden for non-hotel events even more. Suddenly, there is a size rule and - for some reasoning beyond our understanding-, the requirement of full catering at the venue. Hotels on the other hand, do not have to fulfill these additional requirements. The message you are sending to dancers and event organizers is that you do not care at all about the safety of the dancers as long as the event is held in a hotel.

You also continue to repeat that you have to follow your own rules, and apply them consistently. Then why, we want to ask you, are so many events not held to the same standards? Why are so many events still allowed to run in studios, without hotels even in walking distance, without catering or restaurants close by? Mind you, we are not arguing against these events - quite the opposite. Those events have proven to be fantastic in the past and continue to be so, despite - or maybe because - not being run in hotels.

It is required by events to pay their fees and provide the dates and place for the next iteration of the event. How is it then that you allow events to advertise as WSDC-sanctioned events with all that information never being provided? Why are you not applying your own rules there? Is this a “you have to follow the rules, except when we don’t care because the event is running in a hotel” situation? Do you seriously want to give the impression of nepotism and/or arbitrariness?

How can you seriously state that you want to grow the community worldwide when your actions speak very differently: you keep dance professionals and teachers out of work, risking that they might not come back since they are forced to take other jobs. You demotivate event organizers and their teams to take the financial risk, invest energy and time just to be shut down. You keep the dancers in the air about whether events can actually happen or not, in a time where a lot of uncertainty is already overwhelming enough. You alienate everyone involved.

And what for? To ensure what? The integrity of West Coast Swing competitions? How are these rules achieving that?

We need dance teachers willing to travel to events, we need event directord taking the financial risk every event poses, and we need all the people willingly offering their spare time to run the events so a lot of dancers from all over the world can come together and have a good time.

Please stop destroying what you are saying you want to grow.

The Berlin Swing Revolution Team.