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by on May 20, 2013



To dance … a dictionary definition …

1. to move one’s feet or body, or both, rhythmically in a pattern of steps, especially to the accompaniment of music.

2. to leap, skip, etc., as from excitement or emotion; move nimbly or quickly.

3. to bob up and down

Dance Journalism’ as activist performance? Have a look at this –

Dance finds a space within a heavily policed environment for protest … an extraordinary collaboration between dance and journalism.

Here’s a quote from the report on the link –

“As dancers we were protesting the illegal, indeterminate policy of mandatory detention of refugees. As journalists we were protesting the media blackout at the centre. Obviously, the suppression of dance and journalism is nothing in comparison to the human rights being denied everyday in Australian detention centres. The abuses of mandatory detention have been overwhelmingly documented by UNHCR and other human rights observers. The suppression of contact with the refugees and media access to the centre only further confirms that the Government has reasons to be hiding the nature of mandatory detention”.

And from Hydrapoeisis –

“Via Dance Journalism, we will dedicate our abstraction to shedding light on important political or cultural phenomena. We will do this by performing dance at revealing sites accompanied by journalists who will present fact-based reports to camera alongside our site-specific work”.

From → Dance

One Comment
  1. Cami Rowe permalink

    Dance can also invite ‘outsiders’ into activist spaces and transform figures of authority by blurring the lines between protesters and police. In 2008 I was part of a group of Codepink activists in Washington DC, protesting the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion. I documented the following event:

    The 5th anniversary events were vibrant in their diversity, attracting activists from a wide range of backgrounds and organisations. Some Codepink members were blocking traffic intersections that day as part of the “Wake up America” performance. In the background, the ‘Funk the War’ jazz band played lively tunes. At one intersection, I watched as traffic lights turned green and a bevy of women in hot pink pajamas refused to clear a path for cars. Joyfully, they began to dance. DC police attempted to intervene and restore order so that traffic could move, but the activists’ response was simply to begin dancing with the police themselves. At first the authorities were taken aback, but they were clearly struggling to hold back their own laughter. In laughing, the barriers of authority and disobedience were broken down. While the police continued to try to gain control of the situation, it became clear to everyone watching that the boundaries of order and disorder were fading.

    The bulk of Code Pink members cleared the intersection after about five minutes, sticking to their strategy of rolling road blocks throughout the city, in order to maintain the level of chaos throughout the day and make law enforcement more difficult. However, one elder Code Pink member steadfastly refused to move, prompted by her strong desire to be arrested that day (she had told me in earlier conversation that she had been arrested at every major leftist demonstration since the Seattle WTO protests in 1999 and considered it a mark of honour). A few Code Pink members remained dancing in the intersection as cars tried to manoeuvre past. The DC police officer who attempted to contain them seized the wrists of the elder Code Pinker in an attempt to move her from the road. However, he found himself thwarted as the Code Pink women began spiritedly dancing with him, gyrating to the jazz strains of Funk the War. As they wiggled in front of and behind him, the DC police officer broke down in laughter. To fulfil his duty, he could not let go of the protestor’s wrists, as she was not behaving violently but simply dancing with him in a vaguely erotic way while dressed in pink pajamas. It was a brilliant demonstration of the potential of dance to undermine boundaries of authority and social hierarchy. (Description taken from ‘The Politics of Protest and US Foreign Policy’, Routledge 2013).

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