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A lot of social movements have taken place this year due to the pandemic such as Black Lives Matter or the Trans Law in Spain, amongst many other historical events that have risen up in these times and, next to it, the world of the arts, the dance scene adapting to the times.

Any form of art represents the society we live in and tries to give a message. In addition to that, this year we have more students joining latin dances than ever and asking themselves “Why do I have to be lead by a man?” “Why if I am a man can’t I be lead by another man?” “Why does my academy forbid me to switch roles?” “Do I have to wear high heels shoes if I don’t like them?” All to what we usually reply:

“You are free to choose what you want to learn”

Because….is there a problem?

Sadly, latin dances have not traditionally been what you might call as “inclusive”. And not only latin dances, DANCE in general, well, that’s not entirely true: SOCIETY!

The prince of England was publicly shamed and humiliated in the north american television for taking ballet lessons. Not even a royal person can do ballet without being harrased publicly and called at “for doing girls’ stuff”. This unchained a flashmob in Times Square in New York; 300 dancers fighting for that little boy harrased on TV:

Art is art, and does NOT DEPEND on GENDER.

If a royal prince from a royal dinasty can suffer from this, imagine the everyday life of a normal dancer fighting for equality and opportunities. By being a famous spokesperson everything is published and change occurs, but…what happens to all the little boys in the shadow who are not published and shared? Have you seen Billy Elliot? The movie is great, but decades later it has not saved this child.

Furthermore, I don’t want to go that far from home, here in Spain, micro-aggressions to dancers happen every day. Here are some examples:

  • Masterchef judge Samantha (who also happens to be one of the spokes persons of Madrid Gay Pride) this year in social media prohibited his child (male) to dance with other boys: “boys only dance with girls, is that clear?” The moment he informed her that he had danced with male friends in school. And there…in that moment, years of work from many dancers fighting for equality and freedom are lost.
  • Two men cannot compete together in a lot of dance competitions because only male-female couples are allowed.
  • Let me give you another one, a lot of students ask us why we haven’t gone to the dance program “The Dancer”, they did call us and asked us “we want to men to dance together”, and right before asking us what dance style we did or even our names they asked us “can your grandmother come?”. It turns out they only wanted the drama and nothing regarding dancing or ourselves. They wanted people to comment and harassment to level up the audience. Not show.
  • Noelia has been in the program dancing with her female dance couple and, in the online description it says “she was not comfortable dancing as a girl”. But we ask…has she stopped being a woman for dancing with another woman? Who stated how and with whom a woman should dance? How does a girl dance? More incongruities and public attacks that subtly pass unnoticed.

The problem with these is that they are concrete situations that became publish which are left and forgotten in time, remember Billy Elliot, it did not become a movement to empower all those people who want to advance, know more, include and accept all opinions and possibilities. But it is hard to break traditions, stigmas and society’s opinion if there is not a continuous representation.

You will probably read this article and think, I am not like that, I don’t mind if the child does ballet, I accept it, poor thing for having to hear that she is less of a woman for dancing differently. And the real problem are not all those who are surprised and shocked when these things happen, but the real problem are those who still believe their opinion is valid and their attacks to all these dancers are valid.

The fault is that….even these cases continue to happen, up till today, there has been no representation, public role models, a movement, that speaks up for society to realize that this old way of thinking is hurting real people whose passion is art, dance in this case. Probably you will read Noelia’s case “she’s not comfortable as a woman” and understand the overall meaning and just keep reading without paying to much attention to it but, it is offensive. She is deprived of her individuality as a woman who dances with another woman. Objectively, that is what it is, why does she need to be compared to a man? why?

Inclusivity and visibility of values like respect and tolerance does not start with people like us that show new versions of dance and are inside this world, but with you. With people that, dance or not, show acceptance, culture and share the culture of improvement, a social movement where everyone is included no matter their way of expressing themselves and not being questiones for it.

The world and the society evolve, and the dance world along with hem.

Felipe y Tiago RoleRotation
Felipe y Tiago RoleRotation

Founders of RoleRotation
Madrid, Spain.


felipeytiago

International Bachata Artists and Instructors Founders/Authors of RoleRotation

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