Music and dance have always been important elements of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. Individuals and groups have used dance in various creative ways throughout the day’s history to raise awareness and protest, or simply to provide a unique creative outlet!
In celebration of International Dance Day we’ve gathered seven great tips to help you incorporate dance into your actions for IDAHOT 2016. Whether it’s a small individual performance, or a group event, dance can be used in many creative ways – either as the main focus, or as a smaller part of a big event!
Check out for example this Tango against Homophobia, from Argentina
1 – Hold a flashmob!
Originally designed in response to rules against public gatherings, flashmobs are now a popular tactic across the world. The idea is simple: A group gathers secretly in a public location, using text or social media to coordinate their meeting. The activists blend into the crowd until signaled to begin a special pre-planned performance.
It could be a highly-rehearsed, coordinated routine, or something much more amateur. Whatever it is, flashmobs can be a great way of engaging younger people and raising public awareness of an important specific issue.
For more ideas, check out some of the past events which have used flashmobs for IDAHOT.
2 – Use traditional elements
All across the world LGBTI individuals have existed as long as humans have, yet in many countries the idea that LGBTI identities are a recent invention still remains. Whether it’s traditional music, traditional dance, or both, incorporating traditional elements into a performance can help bridge the perceived gap between the LGBTI community and a culture’s traditional elements.
Traditional elements also help attract sections of the public that might not normally engage with LGBTI issues to your campaign, but is perhaps most useful in the way it can shift public perceptions.
3 – Get a live band
If you want your event to draw lots of members of the public then one of the best ways is through live music! Not only is it a great way to put on a show, but can always be a great way of supporting local musicians, especially LGBTI musicians who might not often get a platform!
Search your local community for bands that can perform alongside your dance. It might seem like a daunting task, but it’s usually not too difficult to find talented and enthusiastic musicians who are happy to support a good cause.
4 – Busk or hold a street performance
If your group is very small, or even if you’re only an individual, then a street performance (known as busking in some parts of the world) is a great way to draw attention to your cause, or to raise important funds through donations.
In theory, all you need is a sound system and public space, but its good to make sure that your performance is well-rehearsed too. If you’re raising awareness make sure you also bring along information such as signs or leaflets too. In many cities you may need a permit or special permission, so check in advance with local authorities before you hold a performance.
5 – Contact schools and community groups
If performance isn’t your thing then consider working with a local group who are willing to support your event. Schools, community groups and dance groups are often eager to put on a show, and contacting them might be a great way to build links with the local community.
6 – Build a mobile sound system
If you have the time or resources then a mobile sound system is great for making sure your performance doesn’t have to remain static. Whether it’s a car or van with speakers, a bicycle trailer, or even a person-carried system, having a system that moves with you is ideal for parades, protests and marches.
Have a look online at other people’s systems, look around your community and see what you have available. You might find you have the perfect components for a mobile system already to hand!
7 – Make it loud!
Although dancing is a fun and creative outlet for communities, the most important aspect is its ability to draw attention. Bring colors, loud music, exciting costumes and other visual and aural aspects can ensure that your performance draws as much attention as possible.
When it comes to IDAHOT there’s no such thing as TOO VISIBLE! When you’re planning your performance you should always make sure you’re doing your best to ensure it’s as visible, loud and attractive as possible!
WERK FOR PEACE
Also check out WERK FOR PEACE, A Queer-Based Grassroots Movement Using All Forms of Dance To Promote Peace. Werk for Peace was created in the wake of the Orlando night club massacre in 2016.
In Mexico, a group of feminists have taken a novel approach to encourage behaviour change in misogynistic males who might harass them in the street. They chase them, shoot confetti in their faces and then with a song explain why what they just did was so problematic. The tactic might embarrass the perpetrator but also sends a message to others around them, and by being comical with confetti it sends a strong message but in a way that doesn’t seek to escalate a situation or encourage violence.
In Cambodia, human rights activists used a viral song and dance sensation as the base for their protest on Human Rights Day. Using song, dance, and performance can attract the attention of passers-by and come as a surprise to authorities making it more difficult for them to know how to react – to start with it might be unclear that it is a protest at all and shutting it down could make them look quite ridiculous.