A campaign pushing for greater racial equality in dance has been launched in response to the death of George Floyd in the USA and the Black Lives Matter protests.
The TIRED Movement – which stands for Trying to Improve Racial Equality in the Dance industry – has been set up by Nottingham-based dance teacher Stacey Green.
Supports of the campaign include jazz choreographer and theatre director Dollie Henry, Bird College ballet teacher Anna Morgan and Ignite dance company co-principal Louise Harrison. The campaign already has about 700 followers on Instagram.
The movement aims to spark conversation about racial inequality within dance and to instigate a move towards greater diversity in the sector.
Green has 25 years teaching experience and has run her own dance school, Freedom Dance and Performance, in the Midlands more than 10 years.
She also co-founded the Freedom Foundation, which delivers dance, singing and song-writing programmes across schools to improve mental health.
Working with the foundation, the TIRED Movement aims to seek funding for a tour of schools in the UK to encourage conversation about racial inequality.
Green said: “Black Lives Matter has had a massive impact on me mentally and when you look at performing arts and in particular dance, it’s easy to see how under-represented ethnicities are.
“There are lots of things that need to change – more ethnically diverse teachers, examiners, adjudicators and judges at competitions – and it starts at grassroot levels.”
Green said it was disgraceful that she had never seen a black examiner or adjudicator in the past 40 years.
“The current teacher training curriculum does not address embracing ethnically diverse students and the approach of understanding what is needed when teaching different ethnic cultures, so how does a newly qualified dance teacher learn?” she said.
“The vast majority of examiners and adjudicators are white and while they’re brilliant at what they do, black dancers and performers are never going to aspire to take those roles as they have no one to look up to.”
Green added: “Traditionally, the ballet uniform is pink tights and pink ballet shoes. Why should a young black dancer cover their legs in a shade of tights that does not reflect their skin tone and why are the prices more expensive? Why can’t you buy skin tone ballet shoes for all ages?”