Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Women Dance Towards Change in Bet Shemesh Flashmob



Last Friday, a group of 250 women from Bet Shemesh decided to raise their voices against the exclusion of women from the public domain by holding a mass public flashmob dance in the city square.

The women, residents of the city from all ages and sectors, religious, traditional and secular, gathered together in a flashmob dance to the sounds of Queen's Don't Stop Me Now.

As Liron Nagler-Cohen reported yesterday in Ynet News,
The song was not chosen randomly, and neither was the timing. "We had all kinds of ideas," says Miri Shalem, the project's initiator and director of the Ramat Beit Shemesh community center.
"We thought, for example, about Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' or 'I Will Survive'. It was important that the song would be in English, so that the message would be conveyed abroad too."
The song was not chosen randomly, and neither was the timing. "We had all kinds of ideas," says Miri Shalem, the project's initiator and director of the Ramat Beit Shemesh community center.
"I Will Survive" was eventually dropped, "because we didn't want a connotation of survival," says Shalem. The rhythmic Queen song was chosen by the choreographer, Liat Amar, and the rest is history.

Flash mob is a way to convey a social message – and when religious and secular women dance together in the center of the city most identified with the exclusion of women, the message gets through.

The initiators – all social activists who hold management positions – set up a "women's council" several years ago, whose members are ultra-Orthodox, religious and secular women, veteran residents alongside new residents.

"We were very unhappy with everything that's happened recently in terms of the exclusion of women," adds Orna Nachmani, manager of the Beit Shemesh seminary.

"It was important for us not to attack a certain public, but on the contrary – to come and say that we have a voice. We expressed our voice through the dance."
Here's a video of the Bet Shemesh flashmob, followed by a video of the original Queen performance, with all the lyrics.

Enjoy!

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