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divi
member
Location: Ontario, Canada
Member Since: 26th May 2003
Total posts: 36
Posted:Lately, I have been challenged on how to politicize my performances. With fire dancing being such a sensual art, the most obvious route for me to take would be make my performances feminist. However, I am deeply challenged with how to do this... my fire clothes are all relatively tight so that I can do wraps.

I recently did a fire show at an all-wymyn showcase, and my theme was "from the water births the fire". It was wonder-full, and I managed to get my message across, but I don't know how to keep my feminist content when I head off to other gigs.

I've played around with wearing obviously feminist images on my clothing, but don't feel as if that would REALLY help all that much.

Does anyone have any pointers on how I can challenge the sexualization/ objectification of wymyn while I'm doing something as sensual as fire spinning?
And, PLEASE do not send me any ignorant responses (ie. asking why my fireshow has to be feminist, or telling me to get over it, or telling me to check out the sex and poi discussion below). I am looking for some serious advice from people who have successfully pulled off this type of show, or might have some ideas on how I can do it.

Thanks to y'all in advance!



Astar
member
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.
Member Since: 8th Nov 2002
Total posts: 1591
Posted:You could ask volunteer men to come down and then hit them in the groin with your poi. It would put the popular feminist movement in a nice symbolic nutshell.


divi
member
Location: Ontario, Canada
Member Since: 26th May 2003
Total posts: 36
Posted:Hey Astar, wanna skip across a couple of provinces to take part in my next fire show?
I like your thinking.



Astar
member
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.
Member Since: 8th Nov 2002
Total posts: 1591
Posted:For a serious suggestion why don't you just get some nifty music with clear and understandable lyrics with a feminist message?


pounce
pounce

All the neurotic makings of America's lesser known sweetheart
Location: body in Las Vegas, heart all a...
Member Since: 10th Jan 2003
Total posts: 9831
Posted:i agree with astar on the music....some nice ani difranco would certainly do it. or you could always play tori amos's boys for pele.....perfect symbolism right there. you can hand out information about womyn in fire and symbolism such as pele.

I was always scared with my mother's obsession with the good scissors. It made me wonder if there were evil scissors lurking in the house somewhere.

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

**giggles**


Raphael96
old hand
Location: New York City
Member Since: 8th Sep 2002
Total posts: 899
Posted:How about "sisters are doing it for themselves"?

Annie Lennox is cool.

Raph



Dentrassi
Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane
Member Since: 9th Apr 2003
Total posts: 3044
Posted:i love the idea about the lyrics. if you can get some music which has a real climax as well you could make it quite dramatic - spin with the music, match the tempo pace and feel.

maybe something like this?
special ones
its by an aussie band called george. its sung by katie noonan who has the most incredible voice ive ever seen live. ill email you the mp3 if you wish.

alteratively, get some background music, but quite soft, then have a woman reading relatevant poetry /lyrics and you spin to feel of the words [thrash you chains around with angry words, long slow graceful with soft comforting words.]

hope this help.


"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.


Ade
Are we there yet?
Location: australia
Member Since: 14th Mar 2001
Total posts: 1897
Posted:

Nice question!! just the thing to get the creativity flowing again in the brain....

you could project images onto your body, or a background screen, this would give you the creativity to say what you want while concentrating on the fire part of the show...

you could make a story up or use images joined together in some way...

and linking it to the music like the otters suggests would work well too...

maybe donating a proportion of the money paid to see the show to a charity that supports wymmin, maybe a domestic violence support group or something... and you could print that on your flyers...

hope that helps...



Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:And spinning is not always sexy, how you move with them does not have to be sexy. Check out more earthy african movements that are strong, condusive to both poi and female strength.
And costumes do not have to be that way either. Tight does not always mean skimpy, and wraps need something form fitting, not skin tight. You don't need something low cut, midriff baring that cups your butt to spin fire.
Have a strong image.
Utilize a multitude of arts to support your presentation, as others have suggested.
And never underestimate the value of subtlety. It is a powerful tool to provoke thought as most people don't want things thrown up in front of them.

However, what struck me most about your opening statement is that you said "someone told me...". Do it for yourself, because you have something to say, not because someone else wants to hear something.

My bellydance troupe performed at a women's weekend retreat recently. Our costumes were typical tribal and our dances were celebratory, in some ways sensual (which was celebrated) but what people normally concider a "sexy" dance was portrayed in it's true form, a joyous art. Don't change who you are, or what your art is, to fit into a movement. The truth of your expression is lost then.


P~


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK


Stubbs
member
Location: Kingston
Member Since: 23rd Jul 2003
Total posts: 31
Posted:I have disagree with suggestions to play a certain kind of music, or project images. If you simply do that, you might as well <i>only</i> do that -- the dancing, without any meaningful content of its own, just becomes decoration.

I'd say Pele is spot on about the sensuality of spinning. Have you ever watched a man spin? That's not sensual. Your movements don't have to be graceful -- they can be violent and vigorous, and you can portray them as a struggle.

Google says to check out the following books:

Banes, Sally. Dancing Women: Female Bodies on Stage. Routledge, 1998.

Manning, Susan. Ecstacy and the Demon: Feminism and Nationalism in the Dances of Mary Wigman. Univ. of California Press, 1993.

Thomas, Helen, ed. Dance, Gender, and Culture. St. Martins Press, 1993.

If you come up with something good, let us know. I'm somewhat intrigued myself.



Dio
Dio

HoP Mechanical Engineer
Location: OK, USA
Member Since: 11th Jul 2002
Total posts: 729
Posted:quote: any pointers on how I can challenge the sexualization/ objectification of wymyn My first advice to you is to not think of it in that manner. Feminism, if it is to be respected and successful as it should be, should not be a "challenge" or some sort of aggressive gesture. Glorify the positives, such as the strength women have within them, the ability to harness an element that brings fear and turn it into an artistic tool, or even simply the ability to perform physical acts of agility and endurance that until just a few decades ago were expected only of men. In a group of like-minded individuals a more confronational approach might be acceptable, or even celebrated... but if your goal is to spread a message to those who don't already feel the same way you do, well, you attract a lot more flies with honey (or however that saying goes).

I would recommend your performers act out a play or stage show that has a feminist theme. With a narrator handy to sort of flow the show along, I have found that a narrative performance play is a very neat way to capture the attention of an audience while at the same time causing them to think of the characters involved and the situations they engage in.

Selection of music, theme, costuming to be utilitarian but without being overtly sleazy... there's quite a few elements to take into account and I'm not going to repeat the wonderful ideas that have already been put out on the table here, but I will stand by my point that your first priority should be to entertain and educate the entire audience without appearing confrontational or making an issue of the point you're seeking to educate them on.


What hits the fan is not evenly distributed.


Eera
old hand
Location: In a test pit, Mackay
Member Since: 29th May 2003
Total posts: 1107
Posted:Revel in your own body while you spin. Feminism shouldn't be about shouting down men but a celebration of being a woman. A confident, assured woman clearly enjoying herself says way more than any number of cut and paste images ever could.

There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.


Stubbs
member
Location: Kingston
Member Since: 23rd Jul 2003
Total posts: 31
Posted:Not to start a political debate, but feminism is ambiguous enough to be whatever divi wants it to be. No one wants to open up that particular can of worms, I'm sure.


Dentrassi
Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane
Member Since: 9th Apr 2003
Total posts: 3044
Posted:forgive my ignorance, but why the spelling 'wymyn'? ive encountered it a few times before but am still puzzled.

"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.


polythene
veteran
Location: London/ Surrey
Member Since: 15th May 2003
Total posts: 1359
Posted:Some feminists don't like it being spelled woMAN or woMEN.

The optimist claims that we are living in the best of all possible worlds.
The pessimist fears this is true.

Always make time to play in the snow.


Matthew B-M
Matthew B-M

Lemon-Aware Devilstick-wielding Operative
Location: East London Wilds
Member Since: 9th Jul 2003
Total posts: 605
Posted:*sigh*

That kind of thing doesn't draw me to support their cause in the slightest. I'm all for gender equality, and most girls I know are way more intelligent, and inspiring than I am, but argh!

*goes out to *


Luv 'n' Lemons
purity :: clarity :: balance


Drakien
member
Location: Coventry / High Wycombe, Engla...
Member Since: 19th Sep 2001
Total posts: 49
Posted:quote:Have you ever watched a man spin? That's not sensual.Really? I must have been watching the wrong men then... again.

Bad thoughts.

J


Posh ravers wear ties.


Dunc
Dunc

playing the days away
Location: The Middle lands
Member Since: 19th Aug 2003
Total posts: 7263
Posted:quote:Originally posted by polythene:
Some feminists don't like it being spelled woMAN or woMEN. Does this make them Feminist (to gain equal standing with all known people in a currently masculine dominated world thus finding true equality) or Male Haters (Female Chauvenists perhaps? Not sure of the exact term!) who at the end of the day are every bit as bad as the Male Chauvenist Pigs that we are forced to share our world with?! And do some ladies (sorry can I say that cuz it has LAD written in it) seem to think that something like a spelling actaully counts for diddley?!

And I'm not sure if it's true or not, but I was told a few years back that the first term given was Woman' and that the word Man was originally a derivative of Woman! Has anyone else heard of this?

Oh and to speak on the topic...Maybe a double act with a guy would show the expression of feminism without the dominant/submissive side of it.

anywho...TTFN!


Let's relight this forum ubblove


Posted:quote:Originally posted by Custom Bug:
And I'm not sure if it's true or not, but I was told a few years back that the first term given was Woman' and that the word Man was originally a derivative of Woman! Has anyone else heard of this?
I had heard somthing along those lines, I believe it was formed around pagan religions which were based around cycles of the moon and sun, and women tend to be more in tune with that than men hence made better priestesses(sp?). Therefore they had a higher standing in the comunity. But then again you shouldn't beleive everything you read on the web!

Ultimately though aren't we all human, male, femayl (however you want to spell it! ), black, white, green and all colours in between, it doesn't really matter.

This thread really started off asking for advice on a feminist approach to fire performing, a couple of ppl, I think, have hit it about right, look at tribal dance and powerful feminine imagery that way, or make it a sensual performance, does it make you less of a feminist to celebrate your femininity and sensuality? Or combinations of those with the musical and visual aids that have also been suggested.

If you've got the time, you could edit together your own tracks and portray the whole range of femininity, powerful tribal movements and sensuality, through all stages in between.
coordinate the tunes to your visuals and movement, you'd have a fairly striking performance with which you can still protray a message.

It's really about what Divi feels comfortable with and how she wants to express herself.

Hope this thread gives you some good idea's and
good luck with your show Divi, hope it goes well.

PsyB.



borismcnorris
borismcnorris

professional pedant
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 24th Jul 2003
Total posts: 137
Posted:quote:Originally posted by Custom Bug:


And I'm not sure if it's true or not, but I was told a few years back that the first term given was Woman' and that the word Man was originally a derivative of Woman! Has anyone else heard of this?
I was under the impression that the word 'woman' was derived from 'man with a womb' or 'womb-man.'

Similar to a wombat, i believe. Only joking.

That's what someone told me a long time ago anyway (not the wombat bit, I made that up all by myself. Aren't I clever! )


A warrior always returns to the fray. He never does so out of stubbornness, but because he has noticed a change in the weather - Paulo Coelho


Dio
Dio

HoP Mechanical Engineer
Location: OK, USA
Member Since: 11th Jul 2002
Total posts: 729
Posted:Christian belief lists the word "Woman" as meaning "of the man" because Eve was grown from Adam's rib.

That's where the radicals want to remove the "man/men" reference, based on Judeo-Christian imagery prevalent in America.


What hits the fan is not evenly distributed.


Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:**Puts on Mod Cap**

It was asked very respectfully at the beginning of this thread that it not get into a debate about the feminist movement. I understand wanting to ask about the spelling, fine....but there have been posts on here that are inacceptible in the scope of the original intent of the thread. If you wish to have a discourse on Feminism vs. Male..Whatever then please, by all means, start a new thread. I think it would be **very** interesting to read a well thought out, supported discussion on the two topics to tell you the truth...in fact...I will even start the thread for you in the social sect.

However, I am going to request that if you can not add to the original intent of this thread and make suggestions for her performance piece, that you do take your thoughts to the other thread.

Thank you.

*Stepping down off soapbox and removing mod hat*


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK


Laytin
member
Location: bottom left of the US
Member Since: 3rd Nov 2003
Total posts: 111
Posted:Now my ex-girlfriend was feminist, and the way that she explained it, there were differnt views on what a feminist is.

What is a feminist to you? Do you consider yourself a feminsist? If not, do you really need to change to make someone else like you more?

What I am trying to say, is that the only one that can tell you what you should do, is you.

Listen to your heart.


Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech:


pounce
pounce

All the neurotic makings of America's lesser known sweetheart
Location: body in Las Vegas, heart all a...
Member Since: 10th Jan 2003
Total posts: 9831
Posted:pele goddess

there ya go....volcano goddess and spirit of fire. in case you didn't know already


I was always scared with my mother's obsession with the good scissors. It made me wonder if there were evil scissors lurking in the house somewhere.

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

**giggles**


KristieEB
member
Location: Oakland, CA
Member Since: 17th Sep 2003
Total posts: 108
Posted:perhaps a routine that shows the different faces of women ,,, in all our glory.

seductress (conquer the man with sex?), mother (bear and love and raise a child), and strong protector (of child or family or self)

we have so many roles as women, so many strengths, denying our sexuality does not further the cause for equality. it might just give people the wrong message, that female sexuality is bad and should be suppressed in ourselves. so, i guess i disagree with thinking that our sexuality is only in service to male desire. it is for US to enjoy primarily.



divi
member
Location: Ontario, Canada
Member Since: 26th May 2003
Total posts: 36
Posted:Heya, I wanted to thank all of you for putting in your input. There were some huge suggestions posted, and I will definately take them to heart.

Just to clarify a bit, however, I wanted to start by saying that all art that I do has political content, and I was wondering how to incorporate a political meaning into my fire art.

Next,
quote:Originally posted by Pele:
However, what struck me most about your opening statement is that you said "someone told me...". Um, I couldn't find that one in my post. I deeply, truly appreciate your suggestions, but I feel like I need to save face by saying that I do do my fire art for myself, and that my drive to feminize/politicize my art is my own and no one else's.

Third, I don't have a sexual appearance when I dance. I wear my trusty old cotton pants covered in patches with a form-fitting sweater to facilitate wraps. To top it off, I have a bihawk on me head. I'm not concerned with my own objectification per se, but I would like to give my performance another layer.

Finally, I loved the suggestions on music. Right now, I use all-independent and (mostly) female music artists. I do appreciate the songs that people have suggested for the relevancy of their content. I REALLY like the idea of using a projection.. I'm already brainstorming colours and potential cues for fire.
And thanks, Pele, for affirming that the performance can have a celebratory atmosphere without taking on sexualized connotation.

and, BTW, I don't think it's possible to avoid sensuality when you're spinning flames in a hypnotic motion. It's the sexualization that I want to avoid.




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