La Fisura: A proposal to confront the racist structures in the Higher Conservatories of Dance in the Kingdom of Spain from a migrant perspective


My interest in this subject, comes as a result of my four years of higher education in dance in the Kingdom of Spain. Thus, under my condition as a migrant in triplicate (I argue migrant as a person who has decided to move to make another place his or her place). This has awakened an interest in the circumstances in which I have been developing. So, during this training, that was initially directed towards the artistic production of choreography (as the first option of studies offered by the institution). After a year of my stay, I had to make a decision, and make a change in order to be able to survive the system. I became isolated in the periphery of the field of pedagogy, which presents itself as a second possibility of studies within the same place.

But before the change of plans, I could not rationalize why I was isolated and conditioned because of my creative concerns and my research. I could only justify this to myself out of a late adolescent rebelliousness. But, I remember when I communicated the decision to change my specialization, I was told that the faculty had given me the opportunity to reflect, objecting to my age, but later I realised that this was not the only reason.

Little by little, I began to experience and identify the selectivity of the students through the offering of privileges; where the first selection was notorious for being male, the second for being of Catalan origin, and the third for being of Spanish origin. In the face of this, I observed in my colleagues a lack of criticism of the same; it could be that the condition of local students did not allow them to look at the points through which we as people find ourselves traversed by these institutions. So, this has made me use the system’s own tools that have somehow opened up an analysis from my perspective as a migrant, becoming a question:

How can I find a way to hack the education system of the Spanish Kingdom from my higher education in dance pedagogy?

As we know, Spanish education system in arts education is relatively decentralised through the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (MECD), and the Central Government. Those designs the legal framework that regulates the principles, objectives, and organisation of the different educational levels, as well as an important part of the contents and subjects to be studied. Not forgetting the Education Departments of the 17 Autonomous Communities, which are responsible for developing and managing their education systems on the basis of these guidelines.

Yet, trying to focus on the point I am interested in, we will see that arts education at higher level is currently the responsibility of the Central Government. However, only under the advice of the Regional Governments and the Higher Council of Artistic Education, they will be the ones to fix the structure and the basic contents of the course. While the Autonomous Councils of Artistic Education will focus on their own artistic studies.

In my opinion, it is here where art education (in this case the performing arts) is still infantilised, by the paternalism and oppression that these structures propose. Furthermore, not only that, but they will directly reflect a racist aspect inherited from the very Educational System of the Spanish Kingdom. The student, of migrant origin, will have very few or no opportunities of approach, development and potential power of representation. Firstly, in the production of art, and secondly, to obtain a presence in the cultural structures of the system itself. It is a clear example of this being the non-plurality of students enrolled from diverse origins and, as a consequence, the abandonment of these courses.

In other words, in the Higher Conservatories of Dance (CSD) we will find that the intercultural quota will be covered by a population of Latin American origin only; without even thinking about applicants from other origins taking entrance exams to these institutions. The ratio of students accepted by the institution will be 12 places for each speciality (and only in exceptional cases can this ratio be increased), of which perhaps only one place per speciality will be filled by foreign applicants. And that, in any given case, will reflect a great disadvantage compared to the other 11 between locals and the rest of the Spanish Kingdom.

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