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Dancing To Disarm: in conversation with Resis’Dance

On July 22 & 23 you can join CAAT in London for It Starts Here, a weekend of speakers, workshops and training ready to challenge the DSEI arms fair in September. On the evening of 22 July, Dance to Disarm will bring together spoken word, live music and DJ sets, to raise funds for CAAT’s work and celebrate our resistance to the arms fair.

The Resis’Dance DJ collective are a diverse group of women who came together to rock the dancefloor whilst challenging gender norms in the party and political scene. We are excited to have them bringing their blend of soca, afrobeats, house and garage to Dance To Disarm.

CAAT’s Jess Poyner spoke to Phoebe from Resis’Dance to hear more about what they do.

A woman stands DJing 'RESISDANCE' is written over the image

JP: For people who haven’t come across you before, when and why did you start your collective?
Resis’Dance: We started the collective after all meeting at an interactive political action which was created to dis-empower Nigel Farage’s election campaign in 2015. Two of the women on that day were in charge of the music and started discussing their love for music and the need for more female led music spaces within the activism circle. They felt that there was something missing and they wanted to start something new. We just started meeting and planning our first night from then on. More women joined the collective and we established Resis’Dance. One of our aims was to create a space where women can feel empowered to organise together.
JP: Why is it important to Resis’Dance to provide spaces for marginalised groups? 

Resis’Dance: Our philosophy is that we prioritise the voices of people who normally feel uncomfortable in “normal” party spaces. It is a diverse group in terms of race and class and background, but we are all women who have experienced violence in the club/party scene, or just being out. So our main priority is to create an atmosphere where women can feel free to be themselves, without the threat of the male gaze or being judged for being who they are. We create a safe space for everybody, we prioritise the voices of trans, non-binary, and people of colour where they might not have a voice elsewhere. At our nights we have a group of non-binary people, women and male allies that we train to be our feminist militia, supporting people who are getting harassed or unwanted attention. We do this because many women have reported feeling unsafe clubbing particularly when there’s been male bouncers who haven’t believed them or protected them sufficiently.

JP: Why did you decide to focus on running events to raise money for radical causes?

Resis’Dance: Resis’Dance as a crew believe and want to raise money for activist groups that otherwise wouldn’t have funding, or may find it hard to access funding because of how radical they are. It’s about raising money, but also bringing different campaigns and activist groups together on the dance floor, giving momentum for the movements as well. We wanted to create a space where music can synergise with this as well.

JP: What made you excited to get involved in Dance to Disarm?
Resis’Dance: It’s great to join music together with political causes as they go together so well. Music is a form of expression and a lot of people use it to express their core values and beliefs such as social justice and it can make the messages more powerful. Sometimes politics can get draining and also a bit boring, we think it’s important to be able to have fun as well as trying to make the world a better place.
JP: How do you see the issues around the arms trade as being linked to the ethos of Resis’Dance?

Resis’Dance:  Resis‘Dance wholeheartedly support the campaign against arms fairs. What the arms trade represents is an exploitative, profit driven industry that puts war and profit above anything else. We are fighting for a world where there are no borders, no racist deportations, no sexist cuts to vital services, and where our government is not complicit in the murder and torture of people through selling weapons. The UK government uses public money to help arms companies to profit from selling weapons to countries in conflict and authoritarian regimes, all the while refusing to resettle refugees from countries where it has played a part in conflict. Arms fairs are disgusting and will be stopped. We are trying, in a small way, to dismantle exploitative and dangerous spaces in the night life and music scene. Ultimately we want this to be a reality in all aspects of life and the way our society works.

Join Resis’Dance on July 22 at Dance to Disarm, the after party for It Starts Here, July 22 & 23. 
Book your free ticket to It Starts Here and receive a cheeky discount for Dance to Disarm. But hurry! There’s only a limited amount of £6.50 tickets available. 
To see the full line-up for Dance To Disarm, see: caat.org.uk/d2d 

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