Standards FAQ

If you have a question that is not answered here please post a comment. We are the Source for Clean Dance Standards.

When is the music too loud?

The OSHA standard for a 3 hour dance is 97 dB.
The OSHA standard for a 4 hour dance is 95 dB.
Both of these MAXIMUM values assume continuous music. Periods of lower SPL can be offset with shorter periods of higher SPL. We suggest 85-90 dB as an average.  A good rule of thumb is if you cannot hear and understand the person next to you, it is too loud.

 What do you suggest for refreshments?

Refreshments should be designed to refresh. Simple is always best. Always be appropriate for the event.
If refreshments are included with admission, we suggest:
To Drink; a simple (non-alcoholic) fruit punch and water station.
To Eat; chips, veggies, fruits, crackers, dip, mints, nuts, cookies, finger sandwiches.
Elaborate food presentations are not recommended for regular events. Special occasions may suggest a fancy and or theme approach to the refreshments.
If the event is in your facility, also consider the impact on clean up. For example, popcorn is a great treat, but messy to clean up.

If refreshments are sold; we suggest chips, candy, pizza slices, Hot dogs, and canned or bottled drinks (including water). DO NOT SELL GUM. It is important to price each item competitive to a convenience store and not a movie theater. When budgeting food and supplies consider that surveys have shown that the average 14-15 year old will average $2.50, 16-18 year old will average $4 and 18 years plus $5 for refreshments.

We suggest simple refreshments be included with admission.

 How much room do we need for a dance?

Most fire codes require 9 square feet for each dancer, plus space for tables, chairs, refreshment presentation, isle way, exits and DJ equipment. Depending on the venue, we have found a good rule is 20 square feet per person for the first 100 people, 17 square feet per person up to 200 and 15 square feet per person for more than 200.

Do we need decorations?

Sometimes yes. Most of the time, not really. Most venues look great without much help.
If you insist on decorating, then make it appropriate for your theme And Simple Simple.

We suggest freestanding decorations and table centerpieces

Elaborate decorations are not usually necessary even for special events.

Things to consider when planning decorations:

Avoid dance floor centerpieces as they get in the way of today’s line dances.
Most venues will not allow the use of straw, hay, sand or large water fountains.
Many venues will not allow helium balloons. Some venues will not allow regular air filled balloons.
Check with venue before attaching decorations to walls or ceilings (a group was recently billed $10,000 for wall and ceiling repairs due to their decorations). Most venues do not allow attachment of any type. Some venues allow the use of masking tape only and or special drop ceiling hooks for ceilings.Some Venues only allow their employees to attach items to ceilings (ladder liability issues)
Ask the DJ what space he needs and include it in the floor plan. Properly locating the DJ and the equipment on the floor plan will enhance the music quality and balanced sound pressure levels. Don’t put the DJ in the corner and expect a great balanced sound presentation.

What about a Clean Dance dress code?

Appropriate for the theme and planned activities.
The question of casual or how casual or button shirts for guys and skirts/dresses for girls are ultimately the decision of the sponsoring organization.

We would suggest the following guidelines:

Contemporary Casual: Jeans, slacks, pants, long shorts (no boxer or short shorts), T-shirt (appropriate message print), polo shirt or better. (usual school dress code)
Business Casual: For guys; slacks, collar shirts or better. For girls; pant suits, slacks or skirts with modest tops (no bare mid-driff) or better.
Business Professional: For guys; Slacks, shirt, tie or better. For girls; Modest length skirt with modest top (no bare mid-drift) or modest dress or better
Semi Formal: For guys; Sports Coat and tie or Suit and tie or better. For girls; “Sunday best” skirt and blouse or “Sunday best” dress or better.
Formal: For guys; Suit and Tie or Tux. For girls: “Sunday best” dress or modest evening gown.
Note:
Never allow Dancing in swimsuits. Pool parties or beach theme should be casual with appropriate shorts and tops. Swimsuits are not designed for modest contact and are not appropriate.
Tank tops for guys or girls, halter-tops for girls, tube tops for girls are not appropriate.
Shoes should always be worn on the dance floor.

 

Does dress code drive behavior?

YES
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal observed reduced production with casual dress codes.

A teen club in Florida changed dress code from contemporary casual to business casual and incidents between patrons reduced 90%. They then changed dress code to Semi Formal and the behavior improved to no incidents between patrons.ABC news report: “And whether you want to admit it or not, appearances still matter. “Those who are well-dressed are perceived as being smarter. We’re a visual society,” says Sherry Maysonave, author of Casual Power: How to Power Up Your Nonverbal Communication and Dress Down for Success. ”

 

What is the right amount of light for a Clean Dance?

It is well known that appropriate lighting will assist in establishing the right atmosphere for the intended interaction between dancers. And it is well known that Chaperons want it bright enough to see everyone, Dancers want it dark enough to be romantic and DJs just want the light show to be effective.
With out getting into the technical lighting stuff (wavelength, amplitude, color temperature, lumens, etc.). We suggest a good Clean Dance lighting level would be similar to the light level of a mid to late sun set. Or the amount of light generated by a 60 watt light bulb at 15 feet (brightness is a factor of lumens and distance). Typically that is bright enough to easily recognize someone’s facial features from about 20 feet. We admit this is a tough way to measure light levels since the amount of light for a teen to recognize facial features is substantially less than that required for the typical 40-year-old. But without a deep knowledge of light and sophisticated measuring tools, these guidelines should meet your needs.

We suggest that when setting up the house lights consider making the perimeter bright (early sun set or 100-watt light bulb at 15 feet) and the dance floor dim (late sun set or 40-watt light bulb at 15 feet). This will give plenty of light for the refreshment table, wallflowers and chaperons, and it will enhance the DJ’s Light Show.

What is an Appropriate Light Show?

Light shows have been apart of the Dance scene since the 1890’s when the first mirror balls appeared in dance halls through the late 1960’s with the low tech psychedelic lighting until now with the high tech intelligent lighting that literally dances to the music. Properly designed light shows use our visual senses to enhance the music experience.
Since studies have shown that some light show devices can cause over stimulation and unwanted side effects, we recommend the following guidelines for Clean Dance Light Shows and special effects:

Light shows should NOT include strobe lights or full coverage bright flashing color lights. Strobe lights or full coverage bright flashing color lights are known to trigger epileptic seizures.
Light shows can include light fixtures that emit light rays or beams that move to the music, or pin spots that chase to the music. Pin spots should not be pointed at the dancers (point at ceiling, walls or a mirror ball).
Intelligent lighting that uses beams and pattern gobos are acceptable
Low powered lasers that move to the music and are pointed above the dancers are acceptable.
The impact of a light show is best when used occasionally through out the evening. Light show presentations should not be on for long periods. Typically one or two songs at a time.
A rotating Mirror Ball (disco ball) with pin spots chasing to the music for fast songs and static on for slow songs is an excellent effect. A mirror ball can run all night without any ill affect. Check with Venue before hanging the ball.
Black lights provide a unique lighting effect and can remain on all evening.
Remember – the purpose of the light show is to enhance the music not over power it
Lighting truss must be properly assembled, installed and secured.
All lighting fixtures must be UL rated and properly wired to controllers and power supplies.
Special effects like bubble machines (slip and fall hazard), confetti guns (what a mess), balloon drops (you clean this up) are acceptable with careful planning and considerations.
Stage smoke or fog should be hypo allergenic, medium to thick density, flavored (scented) or not. Use limited to just before and during the light show presentation. Be aware of that some stage smoke or fog can cause difficulty for Asthmatics. Be aware that fire alarms in some venues use optical sensors that could be set off by the stage fog (always check before using fog).

What are inappropriate Dance Styles?

Appropriate dancing can be uplifting and fun. However, inappropriate dance can be demeaning, uncomfortable, nasty and in some cases physically painful.We suggest that:
Dance style should not allow or encourage full body contact or intimate positions with the dance partner. For example, during a ballad or slow dance, partners should use the standard ballroom dance position. In this position, the girl’s right hand is held by the boy’s left hand, the girl’s left hand is placed on the boy’s right shoulder and the boy’s right hand placed on her back on or between her shoulder blades. Partners should NOT use the contemporary slow dance position where the girl places both hands around the boy’s neck and the boy places both hands around the girl’s waist. This encourages full body contact and is not conducive to traditional ballroom dance steps.
Dance style should not include sexually suggestive body movements.
Dance style should not include touching private areas of the body.
Dance style should not include “chicken rides” or “piggy-back” rides (especially boys carrying girls).
Dance style should not include body slamming or “mosh pit” or “Break-dancing”. Other than the physical danger to the dancer, the venue has serious liability issues with these dance styles.
Good, appropriate dance styles use Ballroom or Jazz or Ballet or a combination of dancing techniques (free style) blended to the specific music type (country, swing, pop, Latin, club, Line Dance etc.).

 

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