Last month, I attended an online webinar titled “Racial Representation in Ballroom.” Ballroom dance is very much a white-dominated style of dance, but why? What is preventing everyone else from experiencing this art/sport that we adore? How do we bring greater diversity to the ballroom world?
It was these types of questions that the hosts of webinars wanted to explore. I was so impressed by the information provided and the open and honest discussion that took place, that I had to reach out to the people behind the webinar with a request to share their mission with my readers.
The ballroom dance floor is where I finally connected with my true self and found the courage to show that true self to others. I know many of you have had similar experiences. I hate to think anyone anywhere has been made to feel, intentionally or unintentionally, that they didn’t belong on that floor because of who they were. Which is why I believe this group’s mission is so important.
So without further ado, please welcome to the blog, The TIRED Movement!
The TIRED Movement team would like to start off by saying a BIG thank you to Katie for reaching out to us and for supporting our work! TIRED are Trying to Improve Racial Equality in Dance…
The TIRED Movement are on a mission to improve representation, diversity and inclusion within dance education and the wider dance community. We wholeheartedly believe we can achieve this by uniting as one and working together to allow all of our voices to be heard!
The TIRED Movement was co-founded by Stacey Green and Laura Grant in 2020 following the widespread news of George Floyd’s tragic and wrongful death. Since then, TIRED has gained incredible momentum spreading awareness about racial issues online, at the UK’s biggest dance events (Move It 2022 and Can You Dance?) and by partnering with the UK’s leading dance colleges – including BIRD College, Italia Conti, ICTheatre and Read College/Access to the Arts.
Racial Representation in Ballroom
On Thursday 4th August 2022, TIRED branched out from our usual field of expertise and hosted the webinar ‘Racial Representation in Ballroom.’ TIRED Movement co-founder Stacey Green and TIRED Advisory Board Member Oskar Odiakosa created a safe space for honest discussions around our chosen topics: underrepresentation in Ballroom and Latin, and the lack of appropriate dancewear for global majority dancers. Oskar is a competitive Ballroom and Latin dancer – recently featured on the BBC’s ‘Blackpool Dance Fever’ and the first black man to be sponsored by International Dance Shoes – who has first-hand experience of these racial representation and inclusion issues in the Ballroom and Latin industry as he attends competitions across the country. TIRED are here to support him, and others who relate to him, along their journeys!
During the webinar, we revealed shocking statistics, such as:
‘Currently, less than 1% of competitors across Juvenille, Junior, Amateur and Professional fields within the Ballroom and Latin American competitive dancing circuit in the UK are Black. Yet, 4 out of the 5 Latin American Dance disciplines are of Black origin.’
How has this become the case? What barriers are standing in the way? How can we tackle these severely unbalanced statistics? These are just some of the questions we are faced with as we attempt to make the necessary changes to improve representation in the Ballroom and Latin dance world!
“I’d already known that ballroom (especially at the professional competitive level) was sorely lacking in diversity, and that Latin dancing itself was particularly complex with its cultural origins being from Latin American, Caribbean, and African dance traditions.
I was really devastated to hear accounts of the blatant disregard and disrespect towards black dancers. The webinar also definitely reinforced that the prohibitively high cost of ballroom was a major barrier preventing black and ethnic dancers from entering the sport.” – Annie Lu
Thank you to the 38 individuals that attended our webinar!
Black in the Ballroom
Our new initiative ‘Black in the Ballroom’ will tackle underrepresentation in the Ballroom and Latin dance community by providing young people with scholarships and the opportunity to learn, train and find enjoyment in Ballroom and Latin dance that they may not have accessed otherwise.
This is all we can tell you at the minute… exciting announcements are coming soon, so stay tuned!
TIRED co-director Stacey Green herself has been involved in the dance community and industry since being a young child. Identifying as a mixed-race female, she often found herself struggling to find appropriate dancewear, lacking role-models who look like her and wondering where she fits in…
SHADES Dancewear is a brand-new inclusive UK brand that allows dancers to retain their identity and embrace their ethnicity from the minute they step into their first dance class. We believe SHADES will revolutionise the way dancers of all skin tones view themselves in a space that has yet to fully acknowledge inclusivity. SHADES is the first UK dance brand to provide four shades of skin tone in all products – including male dance supports – in all child and adult sizes.
We have just announced our first ever SHADES Dancewear Ambassadors on our social media (@shadesdancewear) and are always looking out for passionate individuals to represent us – especially global majority male identifying dancers!
The TIRED Movement is a not-for-profit organisation; therefore, we do rely on donations to fund our important work. You can find our page at: TIRED Movement is creating a platform for the dance community to improve racial equality | Patreon
We have so many exciting and upcoming plans to make a difference in our dance community – let’s work together to make change happen!
Thank you all for reading and supporting TIRED,
The TIRED Team x
“The more voices we hear, the louder we become”
YouTube: The TIRED Movement