Consent in Dance

Today, January 28th 2019 I attended the following workshop at  Yorkshire Dance in Leeds 
Consent Conversations: building consent culture in the arts the session was lead by Jenny Wilson of Irregular Arts -the  workshop was  interesting and  was able to tie together  various things I do  or have done in  the past  

  • I Dance, and today I described myself as a Dance Artist as that is the best fit for why I was there, this is actually a bit of a step for me as i'd never actually said that out loud before ...
  • When I worked in healthcare Consent was big issue for practice and as i spent a while working with people  with Dementia  an even bigger issue. 
  • As a trans woman seeking medical and eventually surgical care in my  transition journey; capacity and consent assessments feature pretty regularly in this. 
  • In some of the other things i do in my leisure time consent is a key part of practice and those who don't respect this soon find themselves out on a limb...  (and these activities could, ironically, probably be presented as a  piece of contemporary dance )
Consent does (or should feature ) in all aspects of  Dance practice regardless of the style, who that consent involves and the  extent of  having to seek and  assure it depends on the context.  for a 'family friendly' classical  ballet  performance the fact the audience and purchased their tickets  is probably  sufficient  as long as  the production team warn of  things like strobe lights and big bangs ... however for some contemporary pieces there may be various  more challenging issues whether that is participation by the audience or more provocative/exposing actions by the dance artists.
The consent issues found in class or rehearsal apply across all styles, especially if the teacher/director/choreographer is going to be providing 'hands on'  guidance/correction/coaching,  for some styles there may be additional  consent issues related to partnering or because of (lack of) costuming choices in contemporary pieces... 


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