Explains its campaign against ballet, a UK dance school

Explains its campaign against ballet, a UK dance school

Ballet was eliminated from the audition process, according to Leeds’ Northern School of Contemporary Dance, to “decolonize” the curriculum.

Because ballet is an “elitist art form” with a strong emphasis on “white European ideas and body shapes,” a dance school in Britain has eliminated it from its audition requirements.

According to Francesca McCarthy, head of undergraduate studies at the conservatoire, this may have discouraged dancers who do not adhere to this “aesthetic ideal.” The interview was published in The Telegraph on Saturday.

The Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds stressed that its decision was part of a larger initiative to “decolonize the curriculum” and emphasized that students from lower socioeconomic communities typically cannot afford to study ballet due to the high costs involved.

Furthermore, according to McCarthy, the terminology used in classical dance has “strongly gendered roots” and is thus “problematic about the inclusion of non-binary and trans dancers.”

The school will continue to offer ballet classes, but the way they are taught has been changed to be more “inclusive.” When addressing the students, staff are encouraged to use gender-neutral pronouns like “dancers/people/folk/everyone/everybody.”

The pronouns “he” and “she” should be avoided by teachers in order “not to make assumptions” about the identities of their students.

McCarthy told The Telegraph that she had learned about the “challenges experienced by young people today” in large part because of her “wonderful wife” and two adopted sons.

The conservatoire’s staff started learning about “unconscious bias” in dance in 2019, which is when the school’s push for greater inclusion started.

McCarthy said that the 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations gave the effort more momentum.

The LGBTQ group was then established by students, and its main areas of interest were pronouns and the effects of gendered movement vocabularies, like those used in ballet classes.

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