York University Professor Mary Fogarty has been appointed by the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) to its breaking division as the new welfare advisor.
Fogarty is a dance professor in the School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD), and is a practicing b-girl (breakdancer) and breaking scholar.
The WDSF says the appointment underlines the federation’s commitment to increasing gender equality on its Breaking Committee, the body responsible for the development of Olympic Breaking in the lead up to and including Paris 2024.
Fogarty will play a pivotal role by ensuring breakdancing athletes are protected when attending WDSF events, and help to shepherd new athletes through the experience.
“I am here to listen to the concerns of dancers as they emerge throughout this novel process,” said Fogarty. “I intend to be a first point of contact for dancers at events and to provide them with support and guidance for any critical incidents.”
Breakdancing first graced the Olympic stage at the Los Angeles 1984 opening ceremony, but wasn’t competitive until the Brazil 2018 Youth Olympics. After a successful test run in Brazil, supported by the advocacy of Fogarty and others, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced breakdancing would make its debut in Paris 2024.
Fogarty will work alongside the IOC to ensure dancers’ experience is kept paramount at the games, noting the importance of advocating for gender and racial equity in the competition.
“My personal goal is to advocate for the rights of dancers, to support the development of talent, and to contribute perspectives that reflect the diversity, activism, artistic expression and fire that have made this dance form thrive in adverse conditions,” said Fogarty.