International Women’s Day – State St. “Break the Chain” Flashmob

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I asked one of our new World Dance interns, Genevieve, to write a few sentences on her experience of last Sunday’s flashmob. This is what she sent. I had to share it.

The sun was shining, the music was blaring, the cars were honking, and the people were clapping, but our feet were far too busy dancing to notice. Up and down State Street, moving and grooving…shimmying and shaking…jingling and jangling…in the heart of the American Riviera, the ladies of World Dance For Humanity celebrated International Women’s Day in the most appropriate way possible: flashmob.

With various musical guest performances (courtesy of Janet’s iPod and killer speakers) by Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Meghan Trainor, and countless others from around the world, we spent the afternoon struttin’ from block to block under that gorgeous Santa Barbara sky. The street was packed with shoppers, tourists, late-lunchers, etc., but instead of getting lost in all that hustle and bustle, we attracted crowds of curious gazes and encouraging smiles. Passersby of all ages cheered along and some even joined in showing off a few of their own moves! When we weren’t performing the global sensation “Break the Chain” in tribute to the worldwide #OneBillionRising campaign or posing for pictures with a girl and her pet python, we were shaking things up with some spicy salsa steps or simply gettin’ down with our bad selves by letting the perfect combination of good music, good company, and good vibes guide the rolling of our hips and the swaying of our arms.

Yet the significance of those movements goes far and beyond the dancing itself. We danced for ourselves and we danced for the people out and about on State Street, but our intended audience was humanity (however, due to some travel complications, unfortunately not every single person on the Earth was able to be in attendance that day). Jokes aside, we truly were dancers FOR humanity. How incredible is that? Seriously… how absolutely indescribably incomparably incredible is it to have the honor to dance for the entirety of the human race, let alone on a day internationally dedicated to the celebration women everywhere?! It’s unreal.

If anyone deserves a whole day of recognition, it’s our sisters in Rwanda. Although the epicenter of our own WD4H celebration was in Santa Barbara, the extraordinary women of the 20 co-ops we’re involved in 9,500 miles away were never far from our thoughts. These women redefine “extraordinary.” They have bonded together to defy what seemed like insurmountable odds in a nation desperately trying to piece itself back together after a genocide that stole over 800,000 lives. Their interdependence on each other fuels their survival, but that survival is only the tip of the ice berg. Their initiative goes light-years beyond wanting to simply survive…these women want to THRIVE. They want to RISE, further than they have ever risen. And you know what? They’re doing it. These communities have been transformed, or rather have transformed themselves, from living for survival to living for a future.

While our greatest inspiration emanates from our beautiful sisters in Rwanda, it was truly the energy of our unity as women, headed by one phenomenal woman in particular, that fueled our dancing that day. (I’m fairly positive I actually caught glimpses of my soul reaching out, absorbing up, and feeding off of all of the love and empowerment exploding from the women around me.) The only thing brighter than those hot pink World Dance for Humanity t-shirts were the contagious smiles brilliantly radiating from our faces.

Whether it was flashmobbing the inside of the Apple Store and Forever21 or hanging out the open sides of the Downtown Waterfront Electric Shuttle, without the presence of our World Dance community, the people of State St. would have just gone about their Sunday afternoon, completely unaware of this incredible celebration of women that was rocking and rolling the world beyond them.

Is there such a thing as a “flashmob high”? Because if there is, I’m definitely still on it. “

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