Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Dance Revolution For Real This Time

Dancing is power.  

There's nothing like the feeling of swinging your hips to the music, feeling the beat, closing your eyes.  Getting lost in the moment, yet feeling stronger every moment.  More energy.  More alive.

When I was a little girl I danced a lot.  I danced mostly to the soundtrack of Fame, which we had on an 8-Track tape.  I was obsessed with the TV show Fame as a kid.  I wanted to go to THE Fame school in New York City.  I wanted everyone to sing in the cafeteria.  I choreographed and performed my own dance number to the song Fame by Irene Cara at my talent show.  
Me circa 1982-ish at my my elementary school talent show.  My big move was jumping off the stool (borrowed from my bathroom) and throwing my arms up in the air when Irene Cara belted out "Fame!"  And she did that a lot in the song.

It shot me to my own sort of local fame in the second grade and I performed my number in the middle of our one mall in town.  Pointing to onlookers to "remember my name....remember, remember, remember."  Ahhhh, my first taste of power.

To this day, I may not be able to speak in front of a crowd or even a small group without breaking out in a rash, but I can dance anywhere without shame.  No one on the dance floor at a wedding reception? No problem.  I'll get the party started.  Whether it's in my kitchen by myself or at a crowded club, I dance my way, on my terms.  

That's why I completely fell in love with One Billion Rising.  

On the 15th anniversary of V-Day (Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler), One Billion Rising is inviting women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP and DEMAND an end to violence against women. In honor of the one billion women around the world affected by violence, the organization hopes to move the earth, activating women and men across every country. 

One billion women--abused, violated, objectified, raped, hurt.  Women we know.  A mentor of mine, a woman who counseled me so many times when I was in my early 20s,  was killed by her boyfriend.  She was a strong, powerful woman gunned down and buried by a man who "loved" her.  Then there are the women we don't know, but we see.  Like the cheerleader at a campus party after a football game I saw getting punched by her Roid-Raging boyfriend.  And of course, there are the millions we don't know or see.

Everyday this is happening.  Everywhere.  From our quiet Midwest suburban towns to the Congo.  

This Valentine's Day join the One Billion Rising revolution.  Check the web site (click here) for events in your area or start one.  I dare you to start a flash mob.  Or rise up in your kitchen or in your living room.  Do a family flash mob.

Rise up and dance.

I'm planning my own family kitchen flash mob for the 14th.  We started practicing our dance yesterday.

On the website there's a link to the One Billion Rising dance choreography taught by Debbie Allen.  Yes, that Debbie Allen from the movie and TV show Fame fame.   

So, there I was standing in my kitchen alone with Debbie Allen looking at me from my computer screen and I danced.  I did everything Debbie Allen told me to do.  My inner child was going f&#*ing crazy with excitement.  Dream realized.

When my kids got home from school I told them my plans for a family flash mob and invited them to join in. They were pretty into it.  I started a conversation about helping people, girls and women.  We talked about how sometimes people hurt other people and if we can help stop it, we should.  We talked about activism and empowerment.  We talked about compassion and love.  And then I introduced them to Debbie Allen and we stopped talking and we started dancing.

Here's our little homemade PSA:

Rise up in your office, rise up in your kitchen, rise up with your co-workers, friends and/or family.  Dance.  Start a conversation. Join the revolution.

Here's an awesome event if you're in Pasadena (this guy, this church rocks):

And here is the uber talented Debbie Allen and her choreography tutorial:

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