After 40 years of volunteer work with the Charlotte Contra Dance organizations, I have decided to end my association with the group.

The organization has had a decade-long policy of non-violence on the dance floor. The Code of Conduct policy for the non-profit corporation states that “Contra is a community founded on a love of dance and music and a desire to enjoy the respectful company of others. If however these norms are not being followed, CCD reserves the right to refuse admittance, or to ask an individual or individuals to leave our dance.

I was bullied, threatened, and physically assaulted by a very large man at the Saturday night Meltdown dance. My left wrist and forearm were injured. I reported these actions to board member Mike Brannaman, who discussed it with president Gretchen Caldwell. They decided to allow the man to stay on the dance floor.

I wrote a letter of complaint to the board, and asked them to cover my medical expense. Here, verbatim, is the letter from the president of the board:

Dennis, the board of the Charlotte Country Dancers has reviewed your letter of March 12, 2024 requesting reimbursement for the $55 cost you incurred for medical care received after being injured by another dancer at the Carolina Meltdown dance weekend March 8-10, 2024. We are always dismayed when one of our dancers sustains an injury on the dance floor. Participation in any sport or community social dance event unfortunately involves some risk of injury. We understand from your letter that your injury was inflicted by a particular individual and was not a result of negligence on the part of Charlotte Country Dancers. The Code of Conduct on our website indicates that when a dancer makes one of our fellow dancers feel unsafe or uncomfortable a board member should be approached and the board member would work with the situation to make you feel safe and comfortable, but it does not say that we will reimburse for medical costs incurred. If you want to pursue reimbursement from this other dancer, let us know and we can provide you with his contact information. Our Code of Conduct suggests leaving the dance line if you are made to feel unsafe or uncomfortable and we are glad to know that you removed yourself from the situation.
We intend to follow up with this other dancer. Every dancer at Meltdown had to indicate that they had reviewed the Code of Conduct when they registered for the event. We will also be reviewing our procedures for addressing this sort of incident with the entire board.
Thank you for your years of service to the Charlotte contra dance community. We are sorry you feel you must step away from the volunteer tasks you mention. We will arrange for someone else to manage the sale/disposal of the speakers as well as handling booking of bands and callers.
Gretchen Caldwell
on behalf of the Charlotte Country Dancers board Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

I do not see how this attitude reflects “… a love of dance and music and a desire to enjoy the respectful company of others.” And no explanation has been given for why this man, who repeatedly acted aggressively, toward me and others, was not asked to leave the dance. In fact, Mr. Brannaman told me, at the dance, that “the board has no policy of any kind about aggression, and I’m the only board member here, and I cannot act unilaterally”; Not one word of which was true.

I will no longer participate in Charlotte Country Dancers events, because I now know ALL of the risks involved in their activities.