North Texas Daily

Student flash mob takes part in international anti-violence campaign

Student flash mob takes part in international anti-violence campaign

February 17
23:52 2015

Rhiannon Saegert / News Editor

UNT dance students gathered together this frigid Monday in the Library Mall to shed a flash of light on the issues of domestic and sexual violence through movement.

One Billion Rising, an international campaign launched to bring attention to violence against women, stages flash mobs in public places every Valentine’s Day to catch the public’s attention and bring awareness to their cause. About 30 students participated.

“I think when people think of sexual violence they think of it as a women’s rights issue,” associate professor of educational psychology Prathiba Natesan said. “It’s a human rights issue, it effects everyone, and it’s extremely important to draw attention to it.”

Though the campaign is supposed to take place on Valentine’s Day, Natesan said the group decided there would be little point in performing on a Saturday to a near-deserted campus and moved their performance to Monday instead.

“We bundled up right after,” she said. “It was really cold, but we decided to do it anyway because the show must go on.”

UNT’s dance combined a Bollywood portion choreographed by Natesan and a hip-hip portion choreographed by a student choreographer, dance senior Caitlyn Doughtery.

“The Bollywood song is a very popular song that celebrates the season. The other is the official song of One Billion Rising,” Natesan said. “Both are about female power.”

Natesan, Doughtery and associate professor of dance Mary Lynn Babcock began recruiting dance students the first week of school and rehearsals began the second week.

“Caitlyn really brought so many people together,” Natesan said. “She mobilized a huge group of dance students, and Mary Lynn [Babcock] really tries to motivate students to participate in this.”

Doughtery said coordinating students’ schedules could be difficult, but the outcome was worth it.

“I taught the hip-hop sections that I choreographed,” Doughtery said. “We kind of put the two sections together. Mary helped gather some students, I gathered another set of students. We spent three to four weeks rehearsing.”

Doughtery said the choreography was designed to be easy to catch on to in case the audience wanted to join in, but this year the audience members refrained.

Babcock serves as a national representative for Dance and the Child International, a non-profit dance education association that works closely with One Billion Rising.

“It is really to promote awareness,” she said. “We promote the idea of putting an end to domestic violence through dance.”

Babcock said she focused on coordinating and managing the event rather than choreographing it.

“I like it to be student-driven,” she said. “They know hip-hop way better than me.”

Babcock and Natesan coordinated the same event in 2013, but couldn’t do the same in 2014 because the dance program was moving to its new home in the Dance and Theater building.

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