14 June 2024 14:29

Celebrating Pride 2024 at RAD 

A symbol of LGBTQIA+ rights and celebration, Pride month is a special occasion where people from across the LGBTQIA+ community and beyond can come together and share in their joy.  

Representing solidarity, identity and resistance to prejudice, Pride began in 1969 following the Stonewall Uprising, where members of the queer community stood in defiance and solidarity against unjust discrimination. Here, Pride was born.  

Since June 1969, Pride has grown into a worldwide honouring of the LGBTQIA+ community and everything it represents: joy, acceptance, solidarity and more.  

In celebration of Pride, we hear from Hannah Prime, Head of Trusts and Foundations and a member of our LGBTQIA+ working group, who explains what Pride means to her and how the dance industry can support the LGBTQIA+ community.  

 

Q: Hi Hannah! What does Pride mean to you?

A: To me, Pride is a celebration. A celebration of inclusion, identity and affirmation. Pride is about feeling part of a community and connection, but it is also a protest for equality and against discrimination. 

Q: How important is it for organisations to create inclusive workspaces? What does an inclusive workspace look like to you?

A: According to research, over a third of LGBTQIA+ people feel like they must hide at work. We’re at work for a huge part of our lives. Feeling like you must hide part of yourself greatly impacts both emotional and physical health. 

Inclusion is about creating a safe space and enabling everyone to come to work as their whole selves. Inclusive workplaces attract diverse employees, different voices and cultures, often resulting in being safer and happier for everyone. 

Having diversity networks and groups are so helpful for this and it’s great that we have an LGBTQIA+ working group at the RAD. I’m really proud to be part of the group and to be building a community and visibilty here

Q: What would your advice be to someone who is struggling to fit in?  

A: Try to find your tribe. There are many groups and organisations that can help you meet others in the community, or who have felt the same way as you. There are also fantastic new initiatives focusing on queer dance communities and dance classes that are focused on bringing the community together. I didn't find my queer communities until my 30s, but have found a great LGBTQ+ book club and dance group in London! 

So many people have felt that they have struggled to fit in at one time. Know that you are not alone! If you can, try to talk with a friend that you trust or reach out to organisations like Switchboard LGBT to talk to someone over the phone

Q: How can the dance industry positively support Pride month and those from the LGBTQIA+ communities? 

A: To me, visibility all year is important. Historically there has been limited representation outside of traditional gender norms and relationships, especially in ballet, but we are starting to see a slow shift. Movements like Queer the Ballet are at the forefront of this. It is amazing to see a pas de deux between two women en pointe at Ballet Black’s production ‘Heroes’ at the Barbican. 

The more we see inclusion of LGBTQIA+ voices at all levels of the industry, the more likely people are to feel that dance is for them too - that they are in a safe space to come as they are

Q: Which queer dancers or figures throughout history inspire you? 

A: I’m inspired by choreographer Adriana Pierce and their initiative Queer the Ballet. The movement aims to include LGBTQIA+ voices in classical ballet. Queer the Ballet especially gives space to queer cis women, trans people of all genders and non-binary dancers. They have made some incredible films which are available on their website.  

Closer to home, I’m inspired by the Cactus Club - a brilliant community of LGBTQIA+ and ally line dancers in London. 

From dance history, I have to mention Isadora Duncan who broke tradition both in her life and her dance. You can read more about her and other LGBTQIA+  dancers and choreographers in the Pride Display in the RAD’s Wolfson Library.

Q: Do you have anything else to add or express?

A: I’m really proud that the RAD is walking in the London Pride parade this year for the first time. It’s going to be so exciting to see us walking as a community of LGBTQIA+  people and allies. I would love to think it’s the start of the RAD community globally coming together to support Pride celebrations across the world!