Only Dance Can Save Us!


What an inspiring farewell moment…  It’s my final Friday at my library in Maine and we just hosted a presentation by Urban Bush Women. The work they do is incredible and I had to share a couple of the ideas they are built around which particularly resonated with me.

  • The networking they do is referred to as building Nets that Work.  They borrowed this phrase from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond.
  • Use your art to probe ideas of community engagement. Let it lift communities.
  • Collect local stories as a part of your creation process.  If you’re trying to help someone why wouldn’t you talk to them about what’s going on?
  • My mom recently got her first tattoo, it’s a strike fist like the one pictured above with the words Strike and Solidarity written around it.  I saw these girls incorporate this into a dance that accompanied their oral history multiple times.  It’s so cool to see how ideas truly can be represented using the whole body whether it’s through decorating your body or using it.
  • The BOLD Network is their community Networking team.  It stands for Builders, Organizers, & Leaders through Dance.  How gorgeous an idea is that?  They chose the term Community Networking over Outreach because they felt outreach left you feeling you were reaching down or up and not really getting to the group you’re looking to affect so there was an inadvertent class system being created.
  • They have these parties to celebrate hair and they also celebrate the term Bati, a Caribbean term for one’s bum.   At this party they discussed how their batis can be celebrated, exploited and dishonored.  There are so many ways this could be repeated but what a wonderful discussion to have with teen girls!
  • Celebrate the body’s ability to tell stories.

Now that I’ve seen this presentation I realize every joke I ever heard about interpretive dance is bullshit.  I plan on incorporating interpretive dance in my next powerpoint.

Check out Urban Bush Women here.