A graphic story to raise awareness about harassment in the dance community
Montréal, November 20, 2019. After producing a comprehensive toolkit for the prevention of harassment in dance, the Regroupement québécois de la danse (RQD) is continuing its awareness-raising activities by publishing the graphic story Dance doesn’t mean putting up with everything!. About ten problematic situations experienced in the context of training and professional practice are presented by illustrator Sarah Arnal to facilitate the identification of abusive behaviours in this field, where the body workload, the overcoming of physical and mental limits and precariousness are important risk factors for psychological and sexual violence. The artwork offers an open and direct look look at a complex reality in the hope of encouraging organizations, institutions and individuals of all ages to develop a culture of consent. Supported financially by the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) and the Conseil des arts de Montréal, available in French and English on the RQD website, it could also have an impact in the recreational, performing arts and sport sectors.
In production since last spring, the graphic story addresses problematic situations identified by about fifty RQD members during a workshop on the ethics of professional relations: verbal and physical violence, sexism, grooming, voyeurism and others. The graphic story medium seemed particularly appropriate to the RQD to address these sensitive subjects and appeal to adults and young people alike. The illustrator, Sarah Arnal, stood out among about sixty candidates by her understanding of the subject, her sensitivity, the quality and poetry of her illustrations and by her artistic approach focused on the tension between illustrations of the practice of dance and a raw account of the violence experienced. A group of dance professionals, a lawyer and a psychosocial support worker were consulted to validate the orientations of the graphic story at the very beginning of a demanding process.
Illustrator, teacher, printmaker and graphic novelist, Sarah Arnal lives in Québec City and currently works at the junction of social sciences and graphic arts. A graduate of the École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris, she also directed the print publishing division of the École Supérieure d’Arts et de Design de Saint-Étienne. Among others, she illustrated La première fleur du pays sans arbres, a graphic novel written by Julien Lacombe and published by Les Requins Marteaux editors.
Regroupement québécois de la danse
The RQD brings together and represents individuals and professional organizations working in dance, with the aim of promoting the advancement and visibility of choreographic art and contributing to the improvement of conditions for the practice of dance.
To develop greater individual and collective sensitivity to harassment situations and ensure healthy learning and work environments, the RQD is committed to promoting ethics in professional relationships within the professional dance community. Among other initiatives, the organization hired a professional relations officer from February 2018 to June 2019, published articles in its newsletter and press wire, invited artists to express themselves on sexism and the #Metoo movement and produced a harassment prevention kit.
Read Dance doesn’t mean putting up with everything!
Also available free of charge on the RQD website
- Prévenir le harcèlement et autres violences toolkit (French only), including an overview of the situation in dance, a lexicon, a resource directory and tools for organizations.
– 30 –
Contact and interview requests
Coralie Muroni, communications director, 514 849-4003, ext. 222.