Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Community Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Manuel Riemer

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr. Fen Kennedy

Advisor Role



Given the systemic nature of gender-based violence in Canada, as well as the increasing popularity of Latin dance, it is important to better understand the particular and culturally-specific ways gender-based violence manifests itself within the Latin dance community. This research study examines the lived experiences of women of colour with gender-based violence in the Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo Latin dance communities. Two groups of participants took part in semi-structured interviews: 14 women of colour dancers, and six “Power Players”, leaders in the Latin dance community who are in a position of power (e.g., instructors, organizers, DJs). The data was analyzed using a thematic analysis. The results indicate that gender-based violence in the scene is engrained, normalized and accepted. Women of colour dancers report having to consistently negotiate power dynamics and navigate gender-based violence in the Latin dance community. Study results also show that there appears to be a dissonance between lived experiences of women of colour with gender-based violence and perceptions of Power Players of gender-based violence in the scene. Women of colour dancers experience pervasive racialized sexism; for example, they are asked to dance significantly less than white women. Participants report higher levels of gender-based violence in white-washed dance forms (e.g., sensual bachata). As a result of these intersecting experiences of violence, women of colour dancers have developed diverse and extensive coping skills, to dance around and through harm. These coping skills take significant emotional labour, time, and strategic planning. Recommendations to foster safer spaces in the Latin dance community include practicing community care, upholding organizational responsibility, and integrating embodied consent education.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season