How Does "Innocent Until Proven Guilty" Factor into Sexual Harassment of Dancers?
It's important for the dance community to speak out about workplace harassment and inappropriate behavior. Thinkstock.
I'm feeling very torn about the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Everyone from a company director to teachers and dancers are being accused of sexual harassment and leaving their jobs in disgrace. What happened to the idea of being presumed innocent until proven guilty?
—Conflicted, New York, NY
I support the presumption of innocence. At the same time, it's important for the dance community to speak out about workplace harassment and inappropriate behavior when it happens.
Allegations of sexual misconduct require an independent investigation to reveal the truth. Anyone in a position of power has a responsibility to treat dancers with respect and follow the law. Those who have been harassed must also back up their claims of abuse as much as possible.
It takes guts to speak out, but doing so can help create a safer environment for all dancers. A set of workplace guidelines should hopefully lead to a positive change throughout the industry.
Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at email@example.com.
The cast of Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise in rehearsal. Photo by Stephanie Berger, Courtesy The Shed
Akram Khan loves to dive into genres he is unfamiliar with. While his own movement vocabulary is a hybrid of kathak and contemporary dance, he has choreographed a new Giselle for English National Ballet, collaborated with flamenco artist Israel Galván and made a dance theater duet with film star Juliette Binoche. Now, in between touring Xenos, his final full-length solo, and several other projects, he's found time to tackle kung fu. Khan is part of the collaborative team behind Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, a blockbuster musical based on themes of migration and the fight for survival, running June 22–July 27. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and featuring a score that remixes songs by Sia, it's part of the inaugural season of The Shed, a new venue in New York City.