The LGBTQIA+ and Gender Think Tank is comprised of Staff Members, Faculty Committee Members, and External Stakeholders, brought together by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing to help increase LGBTQIA+ diversity and inclusion within our organisation and the dance industry as a whole by focusing on three key areas; openness, dialogue, and deconstruction.

Dance as an industry often conforms to the binaries which dictate all aspects of society and can leave students and teachers feeling limited and excluded. The Society, therefore, has the responsibility to support LGBTQIA+ dance teachers and students within the learning environment and ensure that they are represented within our syllabi and curriculum.


As we acknowledge that our organisation is neither representatively diverse nor fully inclusive, our think tank intends to focus on exploring the following obstacles.


  • To create a safe and open environment for our members and their students, based on individual identity rather than the rigidity of the binary structures within our syllabi.
  • To build knowledge around LGBTQIA+ issues amongst Staff, Faculty Committees, and Members in order to provide them with the tools to accommodate students and teachers.
  • As a leading organisation within the dance industry, it is important for us to be seen as a trustworthy point of contact for concerns relating to LGBTQIA+ issues in dance. We will therefore look to expand the breadth of LGBTQIA+ guidance and resources available to our members.
  • Part of our commitment to creating an open teaching and learning environment rests upon the revaluation of our syllabi, terminology, and uniform guidance. The think tank will be a source of advice on LGBTQIA+ representation as the dance department reassesses our pedagogical structures moving forward.


  • To open up a dialogue with our members and students – to establish a two-way relationship based on a sharing of ideas rather than top-down decision making.
  • To establish a clear system of communication between the Society and its members so that diverse perspectives can be heard and actioned through discussions, meetings, and forums.
  • To understand the journey each student takes as they begin their dance career. We aim to map the progression route of a student’s journey from the beginning as we hope this will better prepare our organisation to adequately support young students and help them feel represented within their classes, examinations, and throughout their careers.
  • To look into ways we can motivate members to join our commitment to implementing change. We aim to begin this process by incorporating our commitment to LGBTQIA+ inclusion into the Society’s professional standards policy.


  • We aim to deconstruct the binaries which exist within our syllabi and expand upon the way we think about gender in relation to dance. This includes changing the way we approach teaching as we recognise that dance spaces are often very gendered environments. We, therefore, aim to remove existing barriers to inclusivity which include restrictive terminology/curriculum; non-inclusive use of language and images; dance clothing; shoes and hairstyles; micro/macro aggression; conscious/unconscious bias; othering and access to opportunity. Our think tank will explore these issues and recommend strategies for overcoming them through the creation of new ideas and by re-formulating dynamics in classes, syllabi and dance in general to be more fluid.
  • To build knowledge around gender identity, in particular, and the specific barrier transgender dancers face within dance and to provide support to teachers and students who may need guidance in this area. Providing a safe environment for students to learn without facing discrimination is a fundamental part of this.
  • We are also committed to looking towards external organisations, companies, and individuals who are experienced in LGBTQIA+ advocacy to guide us towards becoming fully inclusive. This includes working with transgender advocacy organisations to ensure that any changes made to our syllabi/curriculum concerning gender identity are inclusive and representative.


We have identified that our immediate focus and priority should be around developing the way we support transgender and gender non-conforming students. Whilst the think tank is committed to representing the entire LGBTQIA+ community, we believe that our approach to helping create a safe and inclusive environment for transgender and gender non-conforming students needs more urgent attention as we concentrate on actioning change.

Immediate Actions

At this initial stage, we aim to take the following immediate actions:

  • Recommending awareness training for staff and members
  • Recommending LGBTQIA+ resources which members will find useful
  • Mapping the dancer’s journey from the beginning and through the key stages

We will take forward Equity for all other protected characteristics within is also embedded in our HR policies and practice.