Sometimes when I’m standing on the tube with a little space (it happens sometimes) I put my feet into third devant, putting my right foot in front of my left with the heel of my right foot resting into the in step of my left foot. I hold onto the overhead bar, take a deep breath and let my shoulders relax. I push my chest out. I stand there with a confidence I didn’t have before I started ballet.
Irreverent Dance are a community of people who love to dance. They are also a community of people who may or may not have had struggles with their sexuality, gender and body image. The thing I love about the community is how important and seriously inclusion, consent and acceptance are taken. Nobody has questioned me about or asked me to openly discuss my sexuality or my body history, unlike practically every other social and work space I have ever been in. Nobody has ever told me I shouldn’t wear pink ballet shoes (I happen to like them). Thanks to ballet I have learned to be graceful without the feeling that being graceful is something I should never be. Nobody has ever told me to stop being girly or to “man up”. Phrases which I despise and are damaging. There’s a wonderful powerful feeling that comes when you are graceful, especially when you move together with a room of other dancers, watching the arms in perfect sync in the studio mirrors. Everyone should experience this.
At the moment Irreverent Dance are looking for a home. Irreverent Dance are running a Kickstarter so they can have their our own studio. It’s an important goal as a community which offers safe space for people to be themselves and to dance with joy and without judgement. I would personally love to have a dedicated studio where these values of equality and respect can be constantly enforced, where I can continue to dance and to learn ballet, something I have discovered that I love.
If you have a fiver (or more if you’re generous) please consider donating to the Kickstarter. If you’re interested in signing up for classes, have a look on the website. Hopefully they’ll be starting in the new year in a dedicated studio!