By Sharon Lowen
19 February 2019
The blanket of silence is starting to lift in the dance world. When the explosive revelations regarding powerful and high-profile individuals in the US were not only revealed but believed, our collective conscious shifted.
Disquieting past memories resurfaced for many, perhaps for most women in dance as well as a significant number of men. From sharing personal stories with those near and dear, the conversations have expanded to creating a dialogue within the performing arts community to initiate new steps to protect against sexual harassment. Seeds of courage began to sprout with an awareness of if not now, when? It’s absolutely remarkable that the conservative sabhas of Chennai have united to ban performing artists who have been credibly called out.
In Delhi, a meeting of dance and theatre practitioners, academics, lawyers, NGOs and human rights activists was met courtesy the Max Meuller Bhavan Library, New Delhi, and spearheaded by Mandeep Raikhy and Manishikha Baul. Their goal is Working Toward a Safe Performing Arts Sector.
Rather than calling out individuals who misuse power equations, the focus was on articulating “best practices” for working environments in the performing arts. Clearly, organisations, institutions, studios, and even individual performance collectives. This initial brainstorming session covered a lot of ground to look at sexual harassment and consent starting with (i) What is the definition? (ii) To whom does it apply? and (iii) What then is the redressal mechanism? Also, the differing environments: within organisations that might require an internal complaints committee or an umbrella committee addressing issues across organisations and collaborative projects.
Read the full article in The Asian Age.