As our admiration/ outrage over Beyonce’s new video seems to grow stronger by the day, and Hillary has just discovered that she can use her gender as a weapon (I’m still #teamBernie), it seemed only fitting to dedicate this month’s post to Women’s History Month. Despite often being idols within their art forms, women continue to be stifled by the oppressive and discouraging Caucasian male – dominated society in which they live. Where are all the female choreographers, composers, conductors, CEOs?  It’s certainly not because women lack the talent, creativity, intellect and drive; the fault lies in our hormones and in our institutions. Few and far between have been able to overcome the odds,  and gain the well-deserved notoriety (and paychecks) more easily obtained by their male counterparts. Through performance art, women are really starting to have a strong voice and create their own identities. Lady Gaga is constantly breaking social taboos with her outfits(or is she?), Beyoncé is always playing at both sides of the race card, and Missy Elliot, producing and creating music since the 90’s, refuses to be objectified in any light. Crystal Pite has become an internationally acclaimed choreographer. Tamara Rojo, while still performing as a principal dancer, is one of few female artistic directors of a major ballet company. Lourdes Lopez, Virginia Johnson, Camille Brown…just a few who have strayed from the narrow path and become leading choreographers, artistic directors and icons in the dance world.  Their paths to success inspire me to be fearless in reaching for my dreams, and to break away from the patriarchal mold that might not want my ideas to be heard. These women, and female pioneers before them, (okay sure Hillary) are evidence that the female voice (figuratively and literally) has something important to say, and holds immense power when someone will listen.

Gabrielle Salvatto_Interview En L'air

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of seeing an incredible Sundance documentary, ‘Sonita’. The namesake is a young girl from Afghanistan who seeks asylum in Iran to escape her war-ridden country. Sonita Alizadeh, inspired by a local rapper and by Eminem, finds her voice writing raps about the common and devastating struggles of women and young girls from her country. Though it’s illegal in Iran for women to sing publicly, just one of the many rights women are denied there, Sonita gains recognition for writing ‘Brides for Sale’  and uploading it to YouTube.  Sonita’s own family tries to sell her as a child bride when she is 10 years old, and again when she is 16. Most of her friends fall victim to this common fate, so Sonita uses her own voice to speak for so many who can’t.  I wrote this ‘rap’ in honor of Sonita, because to me her story exemplifies female empowerment and the true power of art. “When the world is Beirut, dance.” (Blog#1) When the world is Iraq, sing.

Will the Real Slim Ladies Please Stand Up

I am, NOT what you say I am
Not in the paper, your newsfeed or your gmail spam
Don’t fear me for being the way I am
A woman who’s strong enough to take a stand

I am, NOT what you say I am
On the streets when you holler ’cause you think you can
You should revere me for being the way I am
And not degrade me because I wasn’t born a man

I am, NOT what you say I am
Don’t have an eating disorder ’cause I don’t eat spam
I love tofu and choose not to eat lamb
I’m proud to be a curvy vegetarian

I am, NOT what you say I am
Not the new GOP’s anti-abortion plan
It’s my body, my rights, not Uncle Sam’s
Don’t call me a b*tch ’cause I know who I am


Performance art is one forum that allows women to have a voice and freedom. It was ultimately the reason that Sonita was able to leave her country and have a chance at life without the limitations of her culture and upbringing. She, unlike so many, was brave enough and fortunate enough to be able to share her story, and use her voice to promote change for others. The female voice may not always be loud, but it has the power to transform the world….my pointe exactly.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” – Anais Nin