Creating a body positive dance space

I support Irreverent Dance! Artwork by TheTinyHoboThis is the second of four posts relating to the Irreverent Dance Kickstarter. Over the next few weeks I will be explaining some of the reasons why this inclusive and welcoming community is so essential – to the people within and those who have yet to discover it – and why dance is far more important than you might first think.

What do you think of when you hear the word dancer? For a lot of people, I imagine it conjures up a mental image of someone of average height with a lean physique. A person who is lithe and conventionally attractive, perhaps? If you did think that, the first thing you’re forgetting is… not all dancers are professional. More importantly though, you can’t tell how fit, able or flexible someone is just by looking at them while they’re standing still. No, really, you can’t.

Dancers come in many shapes and sizes, however, many dance spaces don’t acknowledge this. It’s often difficult for someone who is bigger, smaller, taller or shorter than average to dance without their size attracting attention in some way. Whether its on the dance floor at a club or in a class at their local gym, anyone who’s outside what society considers a ‘normal’ body shape will have probably felt uncomfortable at some point while showing off their moves or learning new ones. The reason for this is, well, other people. People who don’t know that their comments can be hurtful, or people who should be banned from the space entirely. Creating a safer space where everyone can feel comfortable in their own skin is something that can make a world of difference, and Irreverent Dance have an excellent policy in place to ensure that happens.

What does this mean in practice? People who attend their dance classes don’t think of themselves as fat, tall, wobbly, thin, short, muscular or whatever… they all think of themselves as dancers.

Irreverent Dance currently have a Kickstarter campaign to raise money in order to create Europe’s First Gender-Neutral Community Dance Studio. If you can donate anything – even the price of a coffee – it will go towards ensuring even more people can enjoy the safe space that means so much to existing members of the Irreverent Dance community. To see what Irreverent Dance has already achieved, why not come along to the annual Showcase performance on Sunday 9th November. A video of last year’s can be found on the ID blog. Artwork by TheTinyHobo.

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