In this episode we talk to Avatâra Ayuso and Anna Williams about women and dance.
Within an overwhelmingly female profession, it still feels largely led by men particularly in creative and managerial roles. How has this come about and most importantly… what can we do about it?
We discuss how being a woman has shaped Avatâra and Anna’s own careers and those of other women they see, we discuss the work both of them are doing through their initiatives and teaching programmes and the mechanisms they use to empower young female dancers. Avatâra observes that women are more often than not infantalised (which comes up again and again as we unpick the topic through the discussion) and Anna discusses the careful use of language as she works with young and impressionable dancers.
Together we contemplate the unfairness of the dance sector gender make-up and drill down into why achieving a gender balance really matters. Avatâra draws upon years of study and reflection – gathering case studies from powerful dancing women across the world and Anna contemplates the hierarchical nature of the balletic institutions and together we ponder whether those companies have in a way become a metaphor of the sector – lines of excellently trained female corp de ballet, some highlighted male soloists and the choreographic genius at the top.
The three of us reflect on what stands in the way for women and predictably the subject of parenthood, along with the impact that Covid has had and the learning we might take from this past year about how we could do things differently. Together we reflect upon whether there are changes to make in ourselves which could progress the movement, alongside thinking about the changes we hope that others might look to make.
Finally we reflect upon some of the recommendations coming out of the recent Women in Theatre Forum Report such as quotas and training, and discuss whether these really are the tools we need for change.