Studio Policy and General Considerations

Updated:  10/31/07

Admission:  Split Tree Farm Participatory Arts Center accepts all dancers who register as events require and pay and meet all event requirements, such as advance registration and gender balance for equitable dance purposes, and does not discriminate on race, gender, ethnic origin, creed, color, religion, and such categories.   Split Tree Farm does discriminate regarding  appropriate personal behavior and respectful dance floor etiquette is required.  The farm owner or event producer, Sid Hetzler, or the head of any organization renting the premises, or an individual teacher, has the authority and will make the final decision about any behaviors that are judged inappropriate and that require an individual to leave the premises.  Sid Hetzler's decision will be final in all cases, subject to any governing local, state or federal laws and regulations. All groups and individuals using the dance studio and premises do so with the clear understanding that there are normal hazards in a country environment and that prudent care will be taken when walking in the fields or woods or when engaged in physical movement on the dance floor or grounds. Note comments below for a more detailed explanation of behaviors that are acceptable or not for the unique Split Tree environment.  This applies to all events Hetzler produces, such as the Nov 2-4, 2007 vintage waltz weekend at the Tivoli Theater.   --Sid Hetzler, Aug. 31, 2004

"GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS:      Must wear clean, non-street, non-marking, soft-sole shoes for dancing.  No child care facilities; children under 12 must be supervised.  No alcohol or pets allowed.  Avoid strong perfumes.  Smoking is discouraged and is only allowed away from buildings in designated areas. "

Most social dance events normally are gender balanced with paired registration suggested; singles may be admitted but are wait-listed to maintain balance.   Single registration is allowed for most other events and workshops, subject to the artistic director or producer's preference and Split Tree's agreement.

Paired Registration:  "This means that since the dances will be couple dances, we want as many men as women participating.  If one gender is in surplus, individuals standing around without a partner get grumpy.  This means you must sign up with a partner.  However, as single individuals register, their names are added to the the men's list or the women's list and two singles are registered and confirmed immediately.  If the two lists happen to be unequal in length, those left at the bottom of the longer list don't get in.  But both of two who happen to register as a couple get in immediately. Their "couple-ness" need not have any implication or obligation beyond a registration convenience, since dancers change partners throughout the day."--Richard Powers, answering a question from a dancer 2/26/98.  NOTE:  As of June 21, 2007, this is modified to require paired registration and singles will be listed and matched but not confirmed without a partner, a registration buddy who may be unknown but keeps genders balanced; in the past we've had some singles who registered early but never were confirmed due to lack of another single of opposite gender.

Here is a July 1998 question about Richard's Oct. 1998 waltz weekend and Sid Hetzler's answer:

Question:  Are women who are interested in leading (and men who are interested in  following) welcome? Your paired registration policy implies male-female dancing only is encouraged. Am I misreading?

Answer:  Please email Richard Powers with this question at vintage [@]  He is artistic director for the weekend (Waltz, Oct. 98) and sets dance policies in all matters.  Also, see his statement on the web page under general considerations. In my opinion, we mean male-female unless a man or woman prefers to register and remain, repeat, remain in a leader/follower role.   This is rare in the Southeast and I personally have no interest in hosting or promoting same-sex or gender-free dances for personal and artistic and historic reasons. Frankly, it is a complicated question and we do this tedious balancing because women normally register more quickly and in higher numbers than men.   Since the pattern is that the women who have come here at previous dance weekends without gender balancing complained about not enough male partners, which was their preference, we decided to attempt to gender balance.   It is not a perfect world and even with exactly even male/female balance, some men and women have made complaints when a partner was not readily available on the dance floor.  So this is an effort to address a real problem as we have experienced in in real life.  For example, Richard Powers as dance instructor must set the policy for weekends for which he is responsible; I or another person would set the policy for another weekend.  At the Fool's Fest, which I produce normally, we have had many compliments from the ladies for attempting to balance the genders based on male/female, or sex, roles.  I personally don't object if a leader/follower criterion is used but this would not be the customary practice in our region.  I don't know how the West Coast manages this matter.   If you have suggestions, please let Richard know and copy me.  Given our society, I doubt this issue is resolvable and the best idea is to let each artistic director/event producer express her/his idea freely as possible.

Hope to see you here.
Regards, Sid<


Statement of Ownership and Conditions of Participation--(7/29/98)

Split Tree Farm is privately owned and sponsors artistic workshops and events for small groups; individuals must be pre-registered and attendance is not open to the general public on a "walk-in" basis at any event.  Split Tree does not allow alcoholic beverages to be served at public or private functions.  Smoking is strongly discouraged and is allowed away from all buildings at designated locations.  Strong perfumes at dances and workshops are not allowed due to chemical sensitivities of some participants.  The owner or his representative may require any guest or participant to leave the premises immediately with no refund if behavior is improper or contrary to customary codes of conduct at traditional dance weekends and dance camps.   Questions or complaints should be directed to Sid Hetzler, owner of the facilities.  

All groups and individuals using the premises do so with the clear understanding that there are normal hazards in a country environment and that prudent care will be taken when walking in the fields or woods.    Any event flyer must be approved in writing by Hetzler and it must include the basic language of "General Considerations" above.   Movement and other events with unusual and potentially risky physical excercises, such as contact improvisation and Lindy aerials, must have a waiver of liability signed by each individual and instructor participating. 

Our aim is to provide a safe space for personal learning by means of traditional and contemporary artistic practices within a supportive community environment of tolerance and respect for differences that do not discourage or inhibit individual risk-taking and exploration.  The owner (and/or board of directors and advisory committee when created) do not necessarily approve of all particular personal expressions and statements or behaviors within any given workshop or event.   However, the owner functions as artistic director in general and as well as for certain specific events, although this responsibility often is shared with event directors/producers, and he is the final authority in matters of artistic propriety and good taste and suitability.    This authority can be delegated to management and staff members but the responsibility for overall artistic control rests with the owner until such time as a board of directors may assume legal and financial as well as artistic control with the owner's approval.  

In the event that Sidney N.  Hetzler, Jr. is unable for any reason or physically impaired, Chattanooga attorney J. Nelson Irvine will direct the affairs of Split Tree Participatory Arts Center with full authority to continue its development and to create a board of directors who will maintain its philosophy and goals and who will assume full financial,  legal, and artistic accountability.

Signed:   Sidney N. Hetzler, Jr.        July 23, 1998   [Updated, June 21, 2007]