Who is Mersey Swing?
Mersey Swing CIC specialises in sharing the joy and excitement of vintage Swing dancing through classes, events, and performances.
A Social Enterprise based in Liverpool, UK, we are passionate about sharing the joy, excitement, and creativity of swing dancing. We focus on creating a positive, fun-filled and welcoming atmosphere where you can meet new people and learn some new dance moves along the way.
Mersey Swing CIC is a sustainable and transparently governed organisation that complies with relevant legislation and legal requirements. Mersey Swing is also a professional member of the Foundation for Community Dance.
Mersey Swing became a registered Community Interest Company (CIC) in April 2014. The Board of Directors are:
Hannah Anderson, Social Secretary; Cat Foley, Artistic Director; Helen Maguire, Treasurer; Susan Whittle, Secretary; Normandie Wragg, Chair
Mersey Swing is supported by its members and a committee. The Management Committee is made up of a group of Mersey Swingers, who want to see Mersey Swing thrive. All committee members are volunteering their time. The Mersey Swing Management Committee is governed by the Board of Directors.
Diversity & Inclusion
We started Mersey Swing because we love to dance and make new friends - having more friends to dance with is a win-win!
The people that we dance with, teach with, collaborate with and contract with, come from all walks of life and so do we! We interact with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, and because we believe in a multicultural dance community where people are boss to each other.
Whether you dance with us, volunteer with us, teach with us, collaborate with us or work with us, we warmly welcome everyone without regard to religion (or none), ethnicity, age, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation, and physical and mental health.
Inclusion is one of our values. Our values mean everything to us.
Being inclusive is what we aim for in classes, workshops, and events. Wherever we create a "dance space" or encourage community, we try to make sure that all people dancing with us can learn and participate whilst having fun.
To read our full Diversity and Inclusion Policy, click here
An inclusive class is one where barriers to participation are removed or mitigated. This means that:
You can join in regardless of mobility or impairment. We want to work with you to find ways to get you dancing.
You should have a chance to meet and dance with most people in our community from your first dance class.
We acknowledge the African American history and social context of the dance in every class.
Whether it's your first class, or your 101st class and beyond we aim for our classes to be useful to everyone. We also invite respected dancers and musicians to join us, inspiring and further educating our community in dances and history of the Swing/Jazz era.
We encourage everyone to dance whichever role they feel most comfortable with and to be able to switch roles. We don't use gendered language in classes
We encourage inclusive and respectful behaviour from our dancers. We don't tolerate behaviour that makes people feel unsafe or unwelcome. We have a Safe Dance Spaces policy here
We encourage and respond to feedback- an inclusive dance class, workshop or event can only be successful when all dancers feel that they are truly part of the community.
All About Swing Dancing
Swing dance is an umbrella term that encompasses many African American vernacular Jazz styles including Charleston, balboa, shag and Lindy hop. These dances paved the way for the later swing dances such as boogie-woogie, rock ‘n’ roll, west coast swing and jive. We Mersey Swing folk focus on the early swing styles, and specialise in the Lindy hop!
What is Lindy Hop?
Lindy hop is a partnered dance, originating in the African American community in late 1920’s Harlem, born out of partnered Charleston and the ‘breakaway’ and influenced by many popular dances of the time such as the ‘Turkey Trot’ and the ‘Texas Tommy’.
The roots of these dances go back even further, to the ‘Cakewalk’ danced by enslaved people for the amusement of their plantation owners.
Lindy Hop is danced to syncopated swinging jazz music and the dance grew with the popular music of the time, bands such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Chick Webb, and Cab Calloway. Similarly to the music to which you dance this style, Lindy Hop is improvised, and each ‘social dance’ is led and followed without any set choreography. Choreography is and always has been saved for performances, whereas the social floor is all about responding to the music, really connecting with your partner and having fun trying out your moves.
It is a wholly African American dance, and cannot truly be understood without its cultural context, of being kidnapped from home and enslaved in a foreign land, with rhythm and music being the medium of choice in which to find common ground. The dance became a worldwide phenomenon, but it’s black inventors and innovators were often pushed aside. At Mersey Swing, we are dedicated to being inclusive and to promote opportunities for Black people and people of minority ethnicity.
Other Swing Dances At MerseySwing
In our Wednesday classes, we focus on Lindy Hop and Charleston. Here's a brief rundown of the other Swing Dances we teach at Mersey Swing. Find a class or course in these dances here
Blues dancing is a family of African American vernacular dance forms, danced solo or in partnership, that developed alongside and were danced to Blues music. Blues music encompasses a range of tempos and styles and the dance modifies in response to the music.
Mersey Swing hosts regular blues workshops and social dances, as well as going and dancing with local live Blues bands.
Here are a few links to the origins of blues dancing as compiled by Blues Dance New York
A swing dance that started in California in the 1920s, Balboa is usually danced in a close partnership to fast tempo music.
You can separate Balboa in to two forms- pure bal where partners stay in a closed position and bal-swing where the dancers separate. Like most Swing Dances, there are moves and concepts that crossover between Balboa and Lindy Hop. We tend to teach Balboa courses in Mersey Swing and welcome Balboa dancing at any of our socials.
Creating Safe Spaces
Mersey Swing CIC does not tolerate behaviour that results in someone feeling unsafe or threatened. We take allegations seriously and are committed to ensuring that all our classes and events are spaces where people can feel safe and have fun.
Mersey Swing is a member of the Foundation for Community Dance, our board and some committee members are DBS checked and we keep up to date with relevant legislation and training in safeguarding.
We have a comprehensive safeguarding policy that guides our actions and is available upon request.
Tell us if something isn't right
All our events have designated Safeguarding officers whom you can talk to about concerns. You can also talk to any member of our board of directors (Normandie, Hannah, Helen, Susan, Cat and John). We will be discreet about any information that is shared with us, we may need to share information with limited members of our team- only where absolutely necessary, and we will talk about this with you. Understand that information you share with us cannot be guaranteed to be confidential and we may need to share concerns with outside agencies and/or the police- we will do whatever we can to support you through this.
How we use Your Data
Mersey Swing would like to keep in touch with you about events or classes that we are putting on as well as promotions or goods or services that you can purchase from Mersey Swing. We promise to keep your data safe and never to sell the data on to any other organisation. You can change your mind at any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is collecting your information?
Mersey Swing is a vintage dance company based in Liverpool. We are a registered Community Interest Company.
How do we collect information from you?
We obtain information about you when you use our website, for example, when you contact us about classes, products and services, or register for our newsletters.
What type of information is collected from you?
The personal information we collect might include your name, address, email address, IP address, and information regarding what pages are accessed and when.
If you answer one of our surveys your information is not held by us but by Survey Monkey.
If you make a purchase of a product from us, your card information or PayPal information is not held by us, it is collected by our third party payment processors, who specialise in the secure online capture and processing of credit/debit card transactions, as explained below.
How is your information used?
We may use your information to;
process orders that you have submitted (for example if you have ordered a t-shirt or a class card);
seek your views or comments on the classes, workshops or events that we provide;
notify you of changes to our services (such as classes, workshops or events);
send you communications which you have requested and that may be of interest to you. These may include information about classes, workshops, other related events
We review our retention periods for personal information on a regular basis. We will hold your personal information on our systems for as long as is necessary for the relevant activity, or as long as is set out in any relevant contract you hold with us. For example, we may hold information about you if you are attending an event.
Who has access to your information?
We will not sell or rent your information to third parties. We will not share your information with third parties for marketing purposes.
We do not use Third Party Service Providers who would be working on our behalf.
When you are using our secure online payment pages, your payment is processed by a third party payment processor, who specialises in the secure online capture and processing of credit/debit card transactions. If you have any questions regarding secure transactions, please contact us.
We also use FaceBook, Survey Monkey, Mail Chimp (for our newsletters), and ticketing systems which may include sites such as EventBrite.
You have a choice about whether or not you wish to receive information from us.
We will not contact you for marketing purposes by email, phone or text message unless you have given your prior consent. We will not contact you for marketing purposes by post if you have indicated that you do not wish to be contacted. You can change your marketing preferences at any time by contacting us by email: email@example.com.
How you can access and update your information
The accuracy of your information is important to us. We’re working on ways to make it easier for you to review and correct the information that we hold about you. In the meantime, if you change email address, or any of the other information we hold is inaccurate or out of date, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You have the right to ask for a copy of the information Mersey Swing hold about you.
Security precautions in place to protect the loss, misuse or alteration of your information
Non-sensitive details (your email address etc.) are transmitted normally over the Internet, and this can never be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As a result, while we strive to protect your personal information, we cannot guarantee the security of any information you transmit to us, and you do so at your own risk. Once we receive your information, we make our best effort to ensure its security on our systems. Mersey Swing uses Google Drive to store and manage our data.
We do not analyse your personal information to create a profile of your interests and preferences.
Use of ‘cookies’
It is possible to switch off cookies by setting your browser preferences. For more information on how to switch off cookies on your computer, visit our full cookies policy. Turning cookies of may result in a loss of functionality when using our website.
Links to other websites
In addition, if you linked to our website from a third party site, we cannot be responsible for the privacy policies and practices of the owners and operators of that third party site and recommend that you check the policy of that third party site.
18 or Under
We are concerned to protect the privacy of children aged 18 or under. Mersey Swing provides goods and services to adults. If you are aged 18 or under‚ please get your parent/guardian’s permission beforehand whenever you provide us with personal information.
Review of this Policy
We keep this Policy under regular review. This Policy was last updated in March 2018.