The Harvey Weinstein allegations go beyond Hollywood

Blogged by Isabelle Vail With news of the Harvey Weinstein allegations causing a media frenzy in Hollywood and beyond, there's no doubting that systematic change is needed now more than ever, whether we're talking harassment or the power dynamics that exist between males and females.

The dance world is no exception. Extensive coverage about the need for more female leadership in the dance world has come about recently, but the torrent of allegations levied at Weinstein, James Toback, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, etc., begs the question: Is harassment happening in the dance world too?

The intimate dynamic between dancers—both male and female—is  unique, as it pertains to a professional setting. Popular films and television shows have broached the idea, including the film Black Swan, in which a prominent male character engages in inappropriate behavior with several female dancers.  It was discussed in a 2011 New York Times article: To Some Dancers, ‘Black Swan’ Is a Cautionary Tale. The popular television miniseries Flesh and Bone follows a young dancer who, within the first few episodes, was pressured into sleeping with a wealthy company donor by her artistic director.

Dramatized as these examples may be, it reveals a much more sinister compulsion that we don't necessarily want to acknowledge. But as the Weinstein allegations show, it can't be ignored.