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Why Role Rotation? Why the fight? Why the movement?

This year has been super interesting for the dance world. The community is finally getting together. Dancers are showing up and defending what they believe in! There were always people willing to fight, but as the saying goes: Union is Strength. You are not alone.

We have, thankfully, discovered this year many people who fight in their cities, countries or continents for equal rights in the dance scene, free of discrimination of any kind. Many names have surged forward and spread, represented and grown in importance to build communities around the world, some examples for you to go look and follow them and find the amazing and important work they are doing are: mydearqueerdancer in USA, Switch Taipei in Taiwan, Liquid Leading in Canada, Belfast Style in UK, Same Sex in Findland, Condução Mútua in Brazil, and many others that work hard and put so much effort in so many different dance styles, inclusion and evolution of dance.

But then, we have also found so many people alone, forgotten, or that felt alone in their place of living since there were no role models or availability of information. Representation.

However, they all had a purpose: promoting leading and following in social dances, fighting discrimination from old normatives, evolving the dance world, creating a better future for the dance world.

We created RoleRotation, which we wanted not only to be a way of dance by rotating roles. But a Social Movement where all the information from everyone is available to everyone who may need it anywhere in the world. Taking dance to next level, to the future, is important. Ending discrimination against sexuality, gender, race, physical aspect, beliefs, etc is important. Social Dance is not just about rotating roles, is about social norms evolving, respecting people, equality, acceptance and empathy.

We wanted to become activists to create a better world.

It’s been a big year for Role Rotation. As the movement grows, so does the interest, more people are realizing that they’re being held back by unnecessary gender norms. With the use of the hasthag #rolerotation in social media, people have jumped forward to speak up and represent their dance community in many places around the world: Spain, Portugal, Japan, USA, Argentina, Austria, Switzerland, UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, China, Venezuela, Perú, and many others. RoleRotation spread.

The sad truth? Most of them come from forms of discrimination, harassment, attacks or insults for jumping out of the old social norms.

The great happy truth? We are not alone, YOU are NOT ALONE. And that’s the biggest and happiest truth we should always have in mind.

There were always great numbers, there just wasn’t unity or ways of contacting each other.

Felipe y Tiago were being asked to teach in different countries and cities to show and portrait RoleRotation, social norms and putting an end to sexism and discrimination. We decided all that had to be shown and shared. Wherever we went, there was always a complete dancer who finally saw how they could reach and show their whole potential, break the limits and barriers imposed by the traditional way of dancing, and spread the word to other complete dancers.

We realized a change was happening, a movement was happening, when couples started adding “role rotation” after their professional couple name. Talent was finally being showned, complete dancers were owning their truth. Schools were trying Role Rotation classes to see the reaction of the people.

Fiorella and Linda RoleRotation was the first couple to contact us, in Amsterdam. Not only they wanted to show that they could do role rotation, but they wanted to show the world that two women can rotate roles, lead and follow flawlesly, and the best part: professionally. They competed in the Dutch National Championship rotating roles. Full talent was finally in stages in July 2021.

Many people after them started adding, sharing or teaching #rolerotation under their professional name: HT Dance in Glasglow, new couples in Barcelona like Jafeth and Noelia. A movement had started. Talent and information was finally for everyone, respected and shared. Hundreds of dancers and students profit today from artists like them.

It takes double the knowlege and courage to dance both roles equally.

Complete Dancers dance Both Roles” – Felipe & Tiago

The first ever official RoleRotation Event was in Barcelona 6th November 2021 under the mottos:

“¿Bailas? ¡Me llevas o te llevo?”

“We break the roles, we lead and follow”

Zuri Duke, dancer and teacher, in Barcelona contacted us, discrimination had happened. Many people were suffering in the dance scene there. What if we tried a RoleRotation event? What if we break the old rules where a man has to lead and “use a woman”?

The event was a success. Women leading men, men leading men, women leading men, transexuals, non-binary, lgbtq+, straight, tall, small, whatever! Nothing matter, only dance. Dance for Dance. Two roles, leader and follower, being rotated. And it was beautiful.

It was that night when Barcelona IncluDance was born, the idea to put classes in Barcelona, an inclusive school that doesn’t discrimminate and promotes equality. Not only that, it was also time to add it in Madrid where the social scene had changed so much already (where Felipe and Tiago live) but still not in Schools. Escuela Artefusión in offered the choice of doing role rotation, choosing role when signing up and erasing “women” and “men” from dance descriptions.

On December 18th, 2021 there was the first-ever Role Rotation event in the United States. Led by Zuri Duke and Becky Darrow through IncluDance there was a completely sold-out workshop teaching Role Rotation basics. The overwhelmingly positive response came from the fact that even though students aren’t discouraged from learning both roles, they’re not exactly encouraged either. In fact, only one of the teachers in the whole Seattle bachata and salsa community can dance both roles! This workshop was a tribute to how powerful our movement, the community we are all building together, truly is, and it goes to show how successful it has already become.

Future events are coming up, the second edition in Barcelona, called RoleRotation Workshop Extravaganza is already consolidated and on its way, Madrid will follow soon. Many many more people join everyday when they realize freedom of expression is finally possible and they are not alone, we are not alone, you are not alone.

There will always be retractors, and that is okay. Each individual has their own way of expressing themselves and should be respected as long as they respect other people’s way of expressing themselves.

There are so many people who were constrained by old ways of thinking, rejected, so much talent was lost along the way and is finally coming to notice, being respected, represented, appreciated, empowered and improved. The movement is working, the dance world is evolving. And we are all doing it together.

We just created this map so we can all gather, contact each other and find other complete dancers around the world. Don’t forget to add yourself if you know both roles!

Primeras escuelas y eventos de baile sin roles de género bajo el nombre RoleRotation, artistas internacionales se suman al movimiento dando clases en Madrid, Barcelona, Suiza, Inglaterra, Francia, Portugal, Perú, Estados Unidos, China, Canadá, Brasil, Argentina, Méjico, Colombia, Australia, Alemania, Amsterdam, Italia, desde 2019, donde se enseña a bailar con la libertad y elección de rol: RoleRotation.

Felipe y Tiago RoleRotation
Felipe y Tiago RoleRotation

Founders of RoleRotation
Felipe: Linguist in International Communication and dancer.
Tiago: Psychologist and Dancer.
Madrid, Spain.

Zuri (They/Them)
Zuri (They/Them)

Founder of @Includancebcn
Writer, organiser, dancer, advocate


International Bachata Artists and Instructors Creators/Authors/Owners/Founders of RoleRotation