Valérie Plazenet, an experienced and well-known ballroom dance teacher, has been sacked from Paris' Sciences Po.
The prestigious Institute of Political Studies – President Macron's alma mater – offered classes with Plazenet as an extra-curricular activity, but students complained because she called the participants men and women rather than ‘leader' and ‘follower'. 21-year-old Elisabeth said that Plazenet “made them uncomfortable”.
The Times reports: “…students said that they were offended by language that was ‘sexist, degrading, discriminatory and racist', a university spokesman said”. Maybe that should have been ‘spokesperson'?
Sciences Po has been at the centre of recent scandals involving rape and paedophilia followed by various resignations. Of 69 complaints by students of rape or sexual assault over a two-year period until June 2021, only 38 were passed on to prosecutors.
Sciences Po, just off the Boulevard Saint-Germain in the heart of Paris, is near Plazenet's school, Au Salon De Danse School Valerie Plazenet.
I admit and insist that I say “men” and “women” in my classes. In dance, there is a notion of charm between couples of men and women. I find two women dancing together frankly ugly. It's always the man who carries the woman. They are censoring me. I don't take orders from dictators. They should drop political correctness.
Hardly a comment to smooth the waters.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.