By Garnet Henderson
27 January 2021
Though the #MeToo movement has spurred many dancers to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the dance world has yet to have a full reckoning on the subject. Few institutions have made true cultural changes, and many alleged predators continue to work in the industry.
As Chanel DaSilva’s story shows, young dancers are particularly vulnerable to abuse because of the power differential between teacher and student. We spoke with eight experts in dance, education and psychology about steps that dance schools could take to protect their students from sexual abuse.
Make Basic Safety Measures Standard
Peter Flew, director of the School of Education at University of Roehampton in London, trustee of the Royal Academy of Dance, and chair of Safer Dance
“When I joined the RAD Board of Trustees, I couldn’t believe how little regulation there was around dance schools. When a school is hiring a teacher, they need to do a background check. Does that person have a conviction for sexual abuse or child abuse, for example? Are there gaps in their CV that they don’t want to explain?
“Another important issue is data protection. Does the dance teacher have the cell phone number of the student? This is a common and really bad practice. Teachers should be talking to parents, not the children. And this is an issue with social media, as well.
Read the entire article here.