Mar 2, 2021
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews both Frances Chiaverini and Robyn Doty, co-founders of Whistle While You Work — an organization dedicated to raising awareness around sexual harassment, discrimination, and workers’ rights in dance. Prior to COVID-19, Frances was a Fellow at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, where she and Robyn held “messy talks” to discuss working conditions and how to include consent and boundaries into these environments. The pair has curated this content into material to help dancers on a wider scale.
Both Robyn and Frances are passionate about the good work that they do in the dance community, and their passion comes to the forefront on the podcast. The guests realize that there’s a real problem that needs to be solved, but they’re also confident that that real problem is solvable with enough training, openness, and courage. On the podcast, the pair discuss their company’s origins and current work and how the current pandemic has primed the dance industry to redefine the working environment.
"Spend time finding your own personal boundaries... There's a lot that needs to be done within the self. Practicing consent in your daily self is very important."
"The younger you empower a dancer, the more confident they will feel in their art form. Then, when they're older, they may think, 'Oh well. Maybe I am worthy of this leadership position.'"
"There are amazing choreographers, dance teachers, administrators, and programmers who are also not white, cisgender men. Hire them. They're great for it. Just do it already."
"Think about what else you like to do. And go do those things. And do as many things as possible. It will affect your dance, and I think it can only deepen your experience as a performing artist."
"In cultivating other interests, you're then changing the way you see your own value. This can help you from being exploited within dance."
"Don't work for free. Demand the best for yourself."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
3:23: Frances and Robyn share information about their organization Whistle While You Work and the opportunity that COVID has afforded them to redefine “consent” in dance.
6:03: Both guests discuss the measurable outcomes they’re looking to achieve through their efforts.
9:04: Frances discusses the reasons why there’s a clear discrepancy between males and females in dance leadership — and leadership, in general.
12:16: Both Frances and Robyn give some practical ways that dance companies can “turn the tide” of gender discrepancy and move women and/or minorities into more leadership positions.
15:55: Robyn shares the story of how she and Frances met and ultimately formed their organization.
18:58: Both guests give some advice to young dancers around respecting yourself and making sure that clear boundaries are set at the outset.
22:27: Robyn and Frances speak to the importance of diversifying your skillset and cultivating other interests outside of dance.
27:57: Both guests discuss what’s next for Whistle While You Work and how these ideas will expand its footprint in the dance community.
Bullet List of Resources –
Whistle While You Work