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Why I dance on V Day and my Vagina Conversations story

Written on January 26, 2017
Image Tree Faerie 2015 Courtesy Echonetdaily

Image Tree Faerie 2015 Courtesy Echonetdaily

I entreat you. If you have never taken part in the One Billion Rising V Day flashmob dance in Byron Bay before, consider doing so this year. Then make a day of it and come to the rich and stimulating Vagina Conversations in the evening of the same day or the next.

grant macintyre photography

Jenni Left & Zenith Centre.  Image by Grant MacIntyre

This is NOT a man-hating, angry event. It is celebratory, fun, sensual and exciting! Imagine gathering with women and some men, to celebrate the sanctity and wonder of the feminine: dancing on our spectacular beach with it’s breathtaking views of the mountain ranges within our sacred caldera. We are at the most easterly point of Australia, so if you get there early enough, you can see the sun rise, but also we are the first Australians to dance these powerful steps to this uplifting song. As the earth slowly turns, thousands of women (and men) all over the country rise and dance. Globally millions of people dance this dance on the same day, but at different times. What an act of solidarity. What an act of powerful jubilant magic! But it is also having practical, real world effects too.

As Stroma Lawson, one of the local organisers of our event recently posted on FB: ‘If you have any doubts about the effectiveness of One Billion Rising for Justice, listen to these amazing stories from around the world: https://youtu.be/6guRQb9Plkk

We listen to inspiring poems and readings, then dance together. OK the song is from the US and has an American accent but it is awesome: with strong, fun choreography. It is played on a  magnificent sound system right on the beach, generously provided and manned by beautiful woman- honouring, professional DJ and soundman, Sean Latham of North Coast Events.

Images by Grant MacIntyre

Images by Grant MacIntyre

You can get a feel for the vibe if you still have any doubts by watching these short videos.

Byron Bay V DAY videos:

Echonetdaily video. 

Susie Forster video.

BYRON BAY V Day Event Details:

Flashmob Dance on the beach
On the morning of Tuesday February 14, the 5th Annual Byron V DAY Flashmob Dance event will be held on Main Beach, Byron Bay. The event is one of hundreds in a global action to highlight and stop violence against women and girls in particular.  Gather at 6.30am and dance at 7.30am. Everyone is welcome. Wear Red, or something red. To learn the steps (this is optional and ONLY if you want to- women and men who want to come along are very welcome and there is no necessity to know the steps- its just fun to!)
Steps written out with lyrics: http://www.storytree.com.au/v-day-choreography/
The global movement of One Billion Rising
To understand more about the global movement of One Billion Rising, lead by Eve Ensler, writer of the Vagina Monologues, go here: http://www.onebillionrising.org/about/campaign/
 
Vagina Conversations
This year there will be two performances of original monologues by local Byron women at the Byron Theatre on Tuesday Feb 14 and Wednesday 15th at 7.30pm.
Last year the show sold out a day in advance, so this year there will be two nights. Book early. All new line-up with Zenith Virago as MC, Phillipa Williaqms and Public Act Theatre, Feather, Jannenne As Is, Catheryn Britton & Alison Toft, Annalee Atia, Bintou Burns, Jessica Lu, Jess Simms, Tamar Ben-Hur and ME!  Mandy Nolan will also appear again to finish the night. I have been to two rehearsals so far and it will definitely be a rich, fun, moving revelatory evening!! Book your tickets as soon as they become available.
If you are a local hope to see you there! :)

Back in 2013, I wrote the blogpost below to explain why I not only dance on V Day, but why I think it is so important that I help the Byron Bay organiser of the event Zenith Virago, where I can. Since then, a number of great videos have been made which will give a sense of the exultant atmosphere. Here is the old post:

Why I am dancing against violence on V-Day …and what V-Day has to do with storytelling… (2013)

obr_logo-web

V-Day logo

The ‘One Billion Rising’ movement was initiated by Eve Ensler, author of the ‘Vagina Monologues’.The scale of the movement is breathtaking and exciting: currently 187 countries have signed up to join in. Authors, politicians, filmmakers and celebrities have recorded You Tubes about why they will ‘strike, dance, rise’ on Feb 14. The one billion rising org website states:

‘V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery.’

I am practicing the dance for V-Day so I can join in on our local action in Byron Bay (see FB event page.) The anthem and dance tell a story about the empowerment and solidarity of women. While the song and dance are American, there is the opportunity to create your own version and in many countries woman have done this.

For years, I have seen “Reclaim the Night’ rallies and actions which have not attracted me. I have been a feminist for as long as I can remember. This informs my choices in story: the way I retell and adapt folktales and myths as well as the way I write original stories and songs. I love tales of the feminine. This year I working on a new performance of the Inanna myth cycle, which I closely base on Kramer and  Wolkstein’s “Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth”. The ways women and girls are represented in stories of all kinds has a huge impact on the way we think and feel about ourselves and the feminine. This extends out into the way we act in the world. I have always chosen to tell stories of strong, empowered females.

However, I have never been personally touched by sexual violence. It was of concern to me, but not enough of a concern to turn up to a rally.

The Uprising of Woman in the Aran World logo

Logo for the ‘Uprising of Women in the Arab World’

However, lately a number of things have made me feel much more connected to the issue of sexual violence towards women and girls worldwide.

More…

 

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