Mt. DeSales music teacher Valkyerie Anderson (center) leads more than three dozen in a flash mob during a break at the school to raise awareness of women's issues, particularly violence against women. She said she was gratified that a handful of boys participated in the dance. Photo by BEAU CABELLfirstname.lastname@example.org Video by ANDREA CASTILLOemail@example.com
Before a crowd of students in Mount de Sales Academys cafeteria Thursday morning, 35 classmates performed a group dance to raise awareness of violence against women.
Wearing pink shirts, they jumped, raised their arms and danced to a song with lyrics such as This is my body. My bodys holy. No more excuses, no more abuses.
While the group was mostly female, four boys also joined the cause, said Valkyrie Anderson, who teaches French and Chinese at Mount de Sales and helped put together the effort.
As the students from the private Catholic school danced Thursday, their efforts were part of a worldwide movement to bring attention to violence against women.
That effort, One Billion Rising, aimed to mobilize that many people around the globe by dancing or having other kinds of demonstrations on Valentines Day.
The idea for the dance came about after students at the Macon school approached staff about raising awareness about issues that impact women, such as human trafficking, Anderson said.
Its really fascinating and moving to see the young people being interested (in the issue) and be part of it, she said.
Thursdays event is a project from V-Day, a movement started on Valentines Day 15 years ago by The Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler, among others.
The movements goal is to end violence toward women and girls, including acts of rape, female genital mutilation and sex slavery.
V-Days website cites statistics from the United Nations indicating that one in three women around the world will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.
At Mount de Sales, Anderson asked students, as they were practicing their dance over the past several days, to keep someone in mind, either a specific woman or women in general.
Freshman Garrett Thomson, 14, said he initially signed up for the dance because he wanted to spend time with some of his female classmates. But along the way, he learned more about the deeper meaning behind the cause, he said.
We all opened up to each other, he said.
Another freshman, Summer Nepveux, 15, said she wanted to dance for the women who have been abused. The dance made the issue of abuse toward women more real for her, she said.
Its not right they get abused, she said.
Just as the student performers had the opportunity to learn about violence toward women, Anderson hopes the audience was able to become more aware of the issue too, both through the dance and listening to the song they performed to.
The lyrics of the song are pretty powerful, she said. We are mothers, we are teachers ... no more excuses.
To contact writer Andrea Castillo, call 744-4331.