Istanbul University Journal of Women’s Studies
How do You Desire to Dance? A Methodological Assemblage to Foster Consent in Dance Higher Education in EcuadorMaria Gabriela López-yánez, Beatriz Herrera Corado
Emerging from the need to delineate pedagogical tools that address interpersonal boundaries and consent in dance higher education, we display the experience of a female dance teacher in Ecuador in dialogue with the insights from a dance researcher in Guatemala, in order to investigate the discussion on consent and safe(r) spaces. Based on theoretical genealogies from de-colonial studies and situated knowledge, we enlarge the discussion on consent and safe(r) spaces specifically to be applied to dance contexts in higher education. We examine dance classes as situations in which all bodies are at their most vulnerable state. Considering statistics of sexual violence in Ecuador under the context of gender-based violence, we aim to transcend gender as the only axis of violence and proceed to include the condition of vulnerability of students regardless of their identity. We address the conceptual complexity of defining consent and the framework for expressing it both as a verbal and bodily understanding. Inspired by the learnings on personal boundaries from social dance and contact improvisation, we discuss touch from a de-colonial situated perspective. Finally, we suggest practical exercises that nurture methodological tools for dance pedagogy, outlining the specificity of step-by-step successful moments that we have begun to test in our classes. We propose a pedagogical practice which guides students in learning how to distinguish their desires and share their boundaries in dance classes that could further promote their skills as professional dancers and researchers.