A big thank you to all who came together to celebrate International Women’s Day!! Sifting through the many great photos of dancers, decorators, organizers, supporters and participants…a beautiful diverse tapestry.
Guest speaker Sandy Kowalik spoke about “Subversive Dancing.” You can view the text of Sandy’s remarks after the photo gallery by clicking here…
(You can view the photos by scrolling down on this page or click on the first photo and flip through the photo carousel that displays, using the arrows).
Thank you all so much for celebrating with us today. And a special thank you to all of today’s dancers!
The American dancer Agnes de Mille once said that, “the truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie.”
Dance is many things, including a tool of subversion. Subversion. Even on PEI.
Throughout the mid 1980s and into the 1990s, Women’s Network coordinated a PEI Women’s Festival, with a bit of funding from the former department of the Secretary of State. With a part time coordinator and a strong volunteer committee, this annual event mounted workshops, brought in speakers and entertainers, and focused on issues of importance to women’s equality.
Perhaps one of the most meaningful things that the Festival provided was a safe and supportive space to freely be oneself. Women could talk and laugh and hug and kiss and eat and drink together. And dance! So many of us love to dance! And sometimes women would dance together, sometimes even touching. And sometimes (gasp!) the women weren’t heterosexual.
I’ve been dancing with girls and women all my life. It’s fun! Yet in the eyes of the State this was viewed as a subversive act and in 1993, because of this, the Festival funding was cut.
According to Wikipedia: Subversion refers to an attempt to transform the established social order and its structures of power, authority, and hierarchy. Subversion (Latin, meaning to overthrow) refers to a process by which the values and principles of a system in place are contradicted or reversed.
Subversion is used as a tool to achieve political goals because it generally carries less risk, cost, and difficulty as opposed to open belligerency.
At the time, I never considered women dancing together as a subversive act. But it was. The structures of power, the principals and values of the system, at that time, did not (would not) accept a woman’s freedom and autonomy over her own body. And they still don’t.
I know that women around the world will continue to transform the world, continue to think and organize and speak and make art, until all women have achieved true equality. And of course, we will keep dancing! We will never stop dancing.
Again, in the words of Agnes de Mille: “To dance is to be out of your self, larger, more powerful, more beautiful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.”
– Sandy Kowalik