Before I begin, I’d like to say thank you to everyone for all the the support this magazine has received. We are reminded endlessly in our dancing, learning, and now through writing what an amazing community we have stumbled into. We are so excited to move forward – So to this I say, onward!
We’ve decided that each monthly issue from this point forward will be curated in accordance with a certain theme. There are lots of issues present in society that make themselves present in aspects of the ballroom world, our smaller (sometimes stifling) community. We wish to illuminate these issues in the context of ballroom, in the hopes that we’ll not only benefit our community but reach out and relate to those who many not even know it exists. So in honor of international women’s month, the theme of this issue will focus on the contextualization of the #metoo movement in the ballroom community.
As women in ballroom, we often find ourselves compromising. If you ask anyone, ballroom dancer or otherwise, they’ll say that compromise is key to any relationship and they’d be correct. The problem we face, however, is that as we assume our conventional role as a ‘follow’, we often find ourselves compromising more for leads (given that there aren’t very many) and for any chance to dance. The irony in this is that ballroom and latin are designed to celebrate and showcase the lead. When you combine this necessity of compromise with an environment in which women’s looks are romanticized, you find that traditional gender roles are overemphasized. This results a toxic power dynamic between leads and follows – one in which, unfortunately, too many people are taken advantage of.
Given that we dance in pairs, you could make the argument that leaders feel a similar amount of pressure to look and act like they’re in charge. But the point of all this is that we need to recognize when some aspects of our community and our environment result in people feeling unsafe. That’s what this month’s issue seeks to highlight – it does not seek to place blame or create an enemy. We want to acknowledge people’s experiences and hardships, in an effort to remind them that we want to foster a community where everyone feels comfortable.
Additionally, all pieces published this month on WTF will be written by women.
We hope you’ll follow along this month and as our magazine continues to grow – because issues like these demand your attention. And also, we love you and we love dancing.
— Sarah Fahey, Production Manager