Dance industry leaders come together to host Talking Dance: Improving Racial Equity Symposium

25 May 2021

This industry-wide online symposium, held in partnership with The TIRED Movement (Trying to Improve Racial Equality in Dance), and world-leading dance teaching organisations bbodance, Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA) and Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) will discuss the roadblocks to achieving diversity and how these can be dismantled at every level of dance teaching, creating a vision for an inclusive and diverse future for dance.

Led by Kenneth Tharp CBE, guest speakers including Sharon Watson MBE DL, CEO/Principal of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Christopher Hampson, CEO/Artistic Director of the Scottish Ballet will debate issues ranging from how to build sector knowledge, and diverse role models, the need for syllabi to reflect and celebrate all cultures, and how to overcome financial and cultural barriers to accessing dance training.

The timing of this event has never been so important, Stacey Green, co-founder of the TIRED Movement, explains; “…I am extremely proud to be part of an event that recognises the need for change, by working as a collective to share best practice. As educators of the next generation of teachers and dancers, it is our responsibility to acknowledge the importance of racial equity in an industry that lacks diverse representation.”

ISTD initiated this event with financial support from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. This meaningful award has allowed the Society to accelerate its commitment to improving equity, diversity and inclusion in dance education through a programme of awareness raising and training activities.

By establishing the symposium and bringing together world-leaders in dance teaching Ginny Brown, Chief Executive of the ISTD hopes that: “This event will create a supportive forum within which to raise awareness and stimulate discussion. I am delighted that the country’s leading dance Awarding Organisations, our teachers and the broader dance sector are working together towards positive change. We all passionately believe in the value of dance education and want everyone to feel welcome and able to join our members’ dance classes.”

Julie Bowers, Director of Artistic Development bbodance said: “Learning to dance has a unique power to transform people’s lives. Everyone should have the opportunity to share in this art form with no boundaries to hold them back. We are delighted to be part of this event that can help us all move positively towards this goal!”

Elizabeth Murphy, Chief Executive IDTA said:“The International Dance Teachers’ Association is delighted to be part of the conversation with the dance sector, working together to promote dance to everyone.”

Luke Rittner, Chief Executive, Royal Academy of Dance said: “To achieve the vision for an inclusive and diverse dance sector we all need to work together and so I am proud that the RAD is involved in this symposium. My hope is that through this symposium we will all achieve a deeper understanding of the challenges facing all of us. Significant change starts with small steps and our shared commitment will help us on the journey to bring about a fairer and more equitable society.”


Book now and join us on 29 June, 10am to be part of the conversation. Tickets are free but you must register to attend this event: