On Thursday night, UW’s own Hiwot Adilow took the stage to perform her own unique combination of rap and hip-hop, as the opening act of the Feminist Dance Party hosted by the Campus Women’s Center. DJ Chinola, the DJ for the night, filled with the sounds of M.I.A, Alison Hinds, and Pearls Negras, in addition to the two First Wave performers featured. DJ Chinola flawlessly blended several cultures and genres in her choice of music, which made for an open atmosphere that catered musically to a wide group of cultures and opened my eyes to artists I had never heard.
The crowd was on the smaller end, ranging from about 50 to 60 individuals, but it made for an intimate environment where everyone could dance how they pleased without fear of embarrassment. Seeing as my dance skills are about equal to Chandler Bing’s on a good day, this was a much welcome relief. The highlight of my dancing experience had to have been when a girl in a floral mini-dress perfectly executed the worm down the middle of one of the several dance circles formed throughout the night.
The dance also featured Sex Out Loud, the campus’ peer-to-peer sexual health organization whose purpose is to teach sex-positive education and healthy sexual expression. Free condoms—both male and female—were offered, as well other sexual health resources. I took home a couple of their handy pocket guides, including one focused on awareness of on and off campus mental health resources. SOL also raffled off tickets to a showing of Dear White People, a film which comes out in select cities this Friday.
The theme of the night was “intentional space,” meaning it was a place that was open and safe for individuals across the spectrum of identities. This was an incredibly significant feature of the Feminist Dance Party, as individuals who represent gender, romantic, sexual, and other minorities don’t always have a safe place for self-expression. This event succeeded in promoting an inclusive atmosphere for every individual who attended.
The Feminist Dance Party perfectly expressed the feminist ideal: inclusion, safety, and freedom of expression for people of all walks of life. It promoted healthy interactions between students as well as the value of consent in public spaces, which are ideas that aren’t stressed often enough. My only regret is that I had to miss the last half an hour to catch the bus back to my dorm! This night is one I won’t soon forget, and hopefully the Campus Women’s Center will have much more to come.