It’s an invasion, a demand and even a threat that starts with a glare and ends with a “Hey baby, smile for me.” It’s symbolic of the all too familiar catcall that women around the world fear as an emotional and physical assault to their well-being. Whether it was from the HarassMap leaders in Cairo, Egypt or the young women we have worked with for six years of Girls Raks, we have heard the same stories, over and over again.
The newly formed Girls Raks troupe has created a dance piece that speaks to the verbal dodgeball women face as they simply try to walk down a street. The Calling: From Catcalls to Calling Out and Calling In is a three act dance performance that starts with a theatrical retelling of such an event, shifts to the dancers reclaiming the streets and concludes with gestures of solidarity among women. How do the young dancers feel about creating The Calling? Here’s what they had to say:
“This piece is important to me because I get to show how I rebel against what others say about me through dance. I get to become another person and be free to let everything else go that is stressful in my life though bellydance.” Alexis, age 17
“This piece is important to me because I can rebel against any negativity that comes my way through dance. It makes me feel free and confident knowing that no negativity can bring me down.” Jade, age 16
“The Calling speaks out on a topic that, unfortunately, all women are familiar with. This dance is a way of resistance against the constant cat calling women face every day and empowers me to stand up against it.” Ana, age 17
“This piece is important because it empowers us women by taking something degrading and using it to fight back. When we come together and dance, we’re unstoppable. I could get used to this feeling.” Andri, age 17
Check out Girls Raks at Resistance and Revolution: Sisters Challenging and Changing the World, on Saturday, November 21st at 7:30pm, at Laney Theater, 900 Fallon Street, Oakland. It’s FREE!