"Leading / Following / Switching "
Action Research Project – exploring the possibilities for challenging the gendered dance roles of leading and following within Afro-Latin Social Partner Dance.
For the past eight years I have been a very active participant in the Afro-Latin Social Partner Dance community in the North of England. Dancing, and sometimes teaching, Salsa, Kizomba, Bachata and Tango amongst other dances.
During this period I have derived a great deal of personal pleasure from the activity whilst simultaneously developing a critique of the ways in which gender relations are constructed and expressed within the scene.
The Kizomba role-swap course I ran in 2013 was a small attempt to re-imagine the possibilities of expression within the mainstream: the same couple dancing to the same music but with a different gender dynamic.
My latest project is an attempt to take this process a stage further by intervening in the nature of the lead/follow relationship. Iím drawing on the ideas and techniques of contact improvisation, combining these with social Kizomba. So leading and following are exchanged between the two dancers in a flexible and dynamic way within the duration of a single track of music.
Once again Iím working within the heteronormative mainstream trying to open it up and aiming to extend the range of pleasures available to all social dancers.
I am interested to work within a community of social activity of which I am a part. Creating work, which questions and makes propositions about the nature of gender relations and the politics of pleasure within that community.