We gather here tonight because we can. We come to create spaces for co-existence. For black bodies, big bodies, ALL bodies. Bodies bewildered by the sprint to the Apocalypse. We come for relief and regeneration.
We dance to feel the earth beneath our feet, on this continent of some five hundred nations’ land unceded. We dance for a Makarrata, and more, with thanks and determination.
We dance with our dead. We remember plagues past. We dance to mourn, to share our stories, and pass the baton. We dance to welcome visitors. We dance for the sheer joy of being alive.
We dance to honour our elders who were persecuted. We dance to keep the light on for our kin.
We dance for those in other countries arrested, tortured, executed, cast out. Poland, Nigeria, Russia, Malaysia, Egypt, Indonesia, the list is long. We dance for the fleeing and the detained. Bring them here.
We gather here tonight because we live in a police state, and we won’t let them keep us down. We dance in defiance of laws against dancing. With resource, wit and imagination.
We dance to smash the literal motherfucking patriarchy. In spaces safe from its depredations, we dance along the knife edge of risk, with the sexual boundary riders, without permission nor contrition.
We dance to remember our ancestors who participated in massacres and stole land, or sat by and watched, not even bothering to press Mute during the ad breaks. We dance in atonement. We dance for change.
We dance in homage to the animals and plants, in celebration of their beauty and sustenance. To hold them, heal them and help them, for they are us and we are them.
We come to the dancefloor to break from isolation, for the numinous communal, to share breath, sweat and good vibrations.
We come to flirt, gossip, laugh and hug. We come to kiss and fuck, to dress up and strut. Cos babe, you look so Hot my eyes are on fire.
We dance because Rome wasn’t burnt down in a day and we may as well go out dancing, facing the flames.
We come to dance because we’re sick of politics and just want to have fun. We dance for pleasure, against the utilitarian. So rack up, spliff up, pass the pills. Because we’ve been working so hard and we feel so alone.
We dance because the science is in. All that exercise with other bodies makes good chemicals.
We come to the dancefloor for a blast of art because art is life: enlightening, inspiring, to reflect and renew. We come to create culture because life is art.
We come for the music, transcending language and time, bonding us through our senses, because we are a carnal species. We come for the beat.
We dance in darkness, we dance with the devil. In stilettos down Cleveland Street in peak hour traffic, in boots down the nave of St Mary’s during Communion, we dance til dawn across the spectrum we trip the light fantastic, we dance on Cloud Nine.
We dance because we are an intelligent species. With other animals, we invented this. The Charleston, foxtrot, salsa, cumbia, waltz, tango, kecak, bhangra, Afro, Havasu, Haka, la tarantella, la sautière, the Lindy Hop, rumba, cha-cha-cha, flamenco, jive, jazz, swing, bolero, pogo, tap, jitterbug, electric slide, the bus stop, funky chook, the shimmy-shimmy-shake, ballroom, hip-hop, break dance, pop, vogue, samba, capoeira, ska, mazurka, gavotte, la java, polka, l’agurra, fandango, la farandole …
This Manifesto was originally written and recited for Liveworks 2020.
Written by Fiona Kelly McGregor.