One of One Billion

Dancers' FeetYesterday, I participated in One Billion Rising, a demonstration staged in many countries around the world on the 14th of February to protest violence against women.

In Sydney we were one of the first groups of women and men to begin the dance, which right now (according to my twitter feed) is sweeping around the globe.

While we didn’t see one-third of the population of Sydney’s women, there were many women and men gathered outside St Mary’s Cathedral and some of us were starting to dance – to the EXCELLENT mix – just before 1pm. At 1:30 pm, we all danced together (or thereabouts) as we attempted to copy the dancers in front of us!

It was certainly a strange way to dance – I didn’t end up running into anyone I knew, so I was there, on the street, dancing by myself in a crowd of strangers, with my laptop in my handbag & a sunhat crammed on my head. I might have hung out on the edge of the crowd, but there were people filming and taking photos all over the place, and I wanted anyone who covered the event to see me dancing, to see all of us dancing, transforming silence and emotion into unrestricted, defiant, joyful bodily movement. So I dumped by laptop bag on the ground in front of me, nodded in appreciation as Aretha Franklin came on, and danced – and oh how different from getting up to dance by yourself at a club! Everytime I met someone’s eye I got a supportive, cheerful grin.

I have to admit there was a very uncanny mix of determination, anger, emotion, and joy to everyone’s faces, it is strange after all to dance & think about the overwhelming statistics of gender-directed violence, to think about the protests about to happen around the world where women who joined in this same dance were risking bodily integrity, risking their safety, while we in Sydney were really only representing that risk, at least in the public space of our dance. I was trying very hard not to cry (bad enough to be dancing alone in the middle of the crowd, but weeping alone too?), but then when we finished our dance, I saw I wasn’t the only one smiling in tears.

Although there were plenty of people filming & taking photographs, I did wonder whether that the idea of a protest as a demonstration in front of the media – as something staged so it could be recorded – meant that many victims of violence could not attend the event, out of fear that they would be photographed and identified? I certainly wasn’t sure whether people would be comfortable about me taking photos of them and putting them up on my blog without permission.

So I took photos not of faces, but of feet. As a mundane detail of the women-dominated dance protest, I enjoyed the mulitude of handbags that got discarded on the ground – you can probably see a few.

Here are some of the feet that were dancing around me, declaring with decided steps that end to all violence against women is a goal we must achieve.

Dancing Sneakers

Dancing in Red

More Dancing Feet

Dancing Feet

Dancing sandals

Legs and feet

Dancing Heels

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One Response to One of One Billion

  1. Casey Ormond says:

    Sounds like it was an intense but great day :)

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