Dance Conference Aims to Address Discrimination

Noted dancer and choreographer Dianne McIntyre lobbied to bring the international conference to Northeast Ohio
Noted dancer and choreographer Dianne McIntyre lobbied to bring the international conference to Northeast Ohio
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Dianne McIntyre spent over 30 years in New York as an award-winning dancer and choreographer. But, throughout that illustrious career, the African American performer and Cleveland native kept hearing the same line from well-intentioned white talent bookers.

DIANNE McINTYRE: "Okay, you're black. This is Black History Week. Let's have you perform here." So, why do I have to be just put there in the black box?

Such subtle and not-so-subtle issues of discrimination in the dance field will be discussed at the 27th annual meeting of the International Association of Blacks in Dance, this week. The IABD conference was first held in 1988, in reaction to prejudice inside what was largely a white dance establishment. A series of panel discussions will address challenges still faced in the profession.

DIANNE McINTYRE: People think, “Oh, the arts --- everything is just so peachy keen. Everything is fine.” However, when you get underneath it, sometimes those experiences that could be called discrimination or racism, they could still be there.

The conference will also have performances, plus some workshops on issues common to all dance organizations, like the struggle for funding, and some wellness practices for a physically demanding discipline.

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