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.
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.
You can get a feel for the vibe if you still have any doubts by watching these short videos.
Byron Bay V DAY videos:
BYRON BAY V Day Event Details:
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)
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.
However, lately a number of things have made me feel much more connected to the issue of sexual violence towards women and girls worldwide.