One of things that connects fellow Dutty Artzer Thanu and I is that we both see dancefloors as political spaces. This doesn’t mean that people spend much time talking or signing petitions or getting out the vote in the club, it only means that the ways people relate to each other in the club (or warehouse, or open field, or basement) can shape what kind of power we have access to, individually and collectively. Some time after playing and dancing together and experiencing each others’ skills at building those moments through smashing dance parties, and finding more and more like-minded people (like Anthology of Booty, in DC, for example) we decided to organize a session for the Allied Media Conference called “Radical Organizing from the Dancefloor” where we got together with a crew of folks and strategized about how those liberating, connecting, transcendent, and unsettling moments on the dancefloor come about.
I’ve written publicly as well, about how the two things that matter most are: whose bodies are actually present? and is the space is “exilic” (that is, in some ways outside the boundaries of mainstream society, which can mean an illegal space as well as a space dominated by people who don’t fit in/are excluded from the mainstream)? This is also a focus in my academic work (including my PhD Dissertation “Decolonizing Copyright Law : Learning from the Jamaican Street Dance), and an important aspect in a lot of public talks I’ve given.
Fast-forward a couple of months and I get a nice message from, of all places, Halifax Nova Scotia, where as it turns out the Dalhousie University Feminist Legal Association threw a dance party to celebrate Canada’s bill of rights, for which they wrote a “Charter of Dancefloor Rights and Freedoms” and cited me!
Some nice back & forth ensued, and the result was that this weekend I head up to Nova Scotia to give a talk and DJ – the talk os part of a symposium: “Dancing in the Margins: Exclusions and Capitalism in the Performative Arts”
And to throw down on the dancefloor, which I will do my best to liberate with the help of whoever comes. So please to be a part of widening this conversation and to loop Halifax in to our growing network of bass music people who think dancing and dance thinking!