Dance Revolutionary is an arts initiative that aims to
share information about radical activism through fun, participatory activities.
The project includes four platforms inspired by the lives of Angela Davis
and Emma Goldman, two important figures in U.S. history:
are Angela and Emma?
1885, Emma Goldman immigrated to the U.S. from
Lithuania at the age of 16. The following is an excerpt from a bio on
the digital archive site
of her work, maintained by the University of California, Berkeley: An
influential and well-known anarchist of her day, Goldman was an early
advocate of free speech, birth control, women’s equality and independence,
and union organization. Her criticism of mandatory conscription of young
men into the military during World War I led to a two-year imprisonment,
followed by her deportation in 1919. For the rest of her life until her
death in 1940, she continued to participate in the social and political
movements of her age, from the Russian Revolution to the Spanish Civil
I can't dance I don't want to be in your revolution," said Emma
Goldman (1869-1940), feminist heroine, anarchist activist, editor,
writer, teacher, jailbird and general trouble-maker.
At the dances I was one of the most untiring and gayest. One evening a cousin of Sasha [Alexander Berkman], a young boy, took me aside. With a grave face, as if he were about to announce the death of a dear comrade, he whispered to me that it did not behoove an agitator to dance. Certainly not with such reckless abandon, anyway. It was undignified for one who was on the way to become a force in the anarchist movement. My frivolity would only hurt the Cause. I grew furious at the impudent interference of the boy. I told him to mind his own business, I was tired of having the Cause constantly thrown into my face. I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from conventions and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement should not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. "I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everyboy's right to beautiful, radiant things." Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world-- prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own comrades I would live my beautiful ideal. [Living My Life (New York: Knopf, 1934), p. 56]from "Dances with Feminists" by Alix Kates Shulman [Published in Women's Review of Books, Vol. IX, no. 3, December 1991.]
I learned about Emma Goldman many years ago, I only read her autobiography,
my Life, for the first time last year. A few months later while
Davis's autobiography, I was struck by the connection between the
convictions of two women who have been so inspiring to others through
their fight for justice in the United States. Dance Dance Revolutionary
is project about activist icons and the popular culture that surrounds
resistance movements. There is an ascetic principle that Davis espouses
in her autobiography, published at age 30. This contrasts with Goldman's
work, which covers a much longer period and reveals a great deal of emotion.
It is no secret that both women endeavored to balance work and pleasure
under the scrutiny of their activity in social movements dominated by
Dance Dance Revolutionaries
Faith, Beauty, Integrity