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Fostering a Community of Consent in Social Dance Communities

McMains, Juliet. “Fostering a Community of Consent in Social Dance Communities.” Journal of Dance Education, January 2021. DOI: 10.1080/15290824.2020.1851693.

This article examines how an affirmative consent model can be applied in social dance contexts and addresses how social dance teachers can foster a culture of consent in their classes and communities. This model is based on legal and cultural activists’ efforts to reduce incidents of sexual assault by shifting rape culture to consent culture. The author shares consent exercises developed in the context of a university salsa dance course and includes student perspectives and responses to illustrate their impact in empowering students to honor personal boundaries while engaging in touch-based social dancing. Practical suggestions are offered for dancers, teachers, and community groups that can help shift the culture in social dance communities towards normalizing open and proactive discussions around personal boundaries.

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