West Slope Westies began in 2017 with a group of friends who shared a passion for west coast swing. As the community grew and developed, it was quickly realized this was something amazing and needed to be preserved for future generations of Durango dancers. This goal became a reality in 2022 when the West Slope Westies established non-profit status.
Through countless volunteer hours, the club provides affordable dance education and a safe space for community expression. Local instructors are unpaid volunteers who champion dancing for personal expression and overall wellbeing. In addition to spearheading multiple all-dance style community social dances throughout the year, the Westies also host the 4 Corners West Coast Weekend. This premier west coast event welcomes some the world’s highest ranking pro dancers to lead instructional workshops and open dance events. The Westies believe dance, in all its myriad forms and styles, has a unique power to cement enduring bonds across communities.
A Statement from the Board of Directors
The Board of the Directors for the West Slope Westies is aware of the criminal allegations charged against Connor Elliott. This news has deeply shocked and saddened our organization and our larger dance community. We express our deepest apologies to members of the organization and general public who may have been negatively impacted by these serious allegations. Because Mr. Elliott is facing an ongoing investigation, not all the facts are known at this time. The members of this board are not in a position to make any statements about the veracity or legality of these charges; however, we do believe in the cardinal principle of presumed innocence at the core of the justice system, which establishes that all individuals are presumed innocent until and unless court proceedings and the evaluation of presented evidence determines otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the meantime, we are taking swift actions to safeguard the core values, trustworthiness, transparency of this dance organization for its students, members, and community supporters. To that end, we have secured Mr. Elliott’s formal resignation from this Board of Directors and from all teaching duties while this matter navigates judicial pathways. We will enact all necessary administrative actions stemming from this resignation according to our bylaws. Furthermore, we will be reviewing our policies, procedures, and practices and put in place any recommendations from appropriate third-party authorities or auditing agencies if needed. Finally, we are taking steps going forward to ensure that the current and future leadership of this organization embodies reliability, trustworthiness, while always promoting a safe community space so that the valuable opportunity to connect through the joys of dancing endures. We will share updates on these actions as they become available.
At this time, we would like to remind all concerned and invested parties that the West Slope Westies has, since its founding, always promoted a culture of appropriate and safe conduct especially regarding the open communication of consent. We distribute and collectively adhere to a strict code of conduct regarding appropriate interactions between dancers in our classrooms and at social dance events. We teach our students appropriate social dance etiquette as it regards consent (meaning that we teach students to never assume consent to dance with someone is implied and should therefore always be asked for and clearly stated). Consent, safety, and communication are the cornerstones of our teaching,
class and social dance interactions.
West Slope Westies Board of Directors
James McNichol, President
Autumn von Flotow, Treasurer
Jenny Mason, Secretary
Nolan King, Member
Matt Smolin, Member