News: Taking Back the Tube

Monday 18 March 2013 by Carmel Smith

On International Women’s Day this year (Friday 8 March) Ellie Cosgrave boarded a Northern Line tube train and performed a dance she made in response to being sexually assaulted in the same setting some weeks previously. Take Back the Tube was her way of making an open stand against sexual harassment.
Read Ellie’s blog about her experience – and watch her dance on the tube above – and in rehearsal below.

We asked Ellie, who by day is an engineer, why she chose the medium of dance to make her point…

“Dance is a natural medium for me to communicate in. I find it honest and a direct link to my emotion, un-muddied by language. It’s liberating for me too, when I’m dancing my whole focus is on my body and I’m released from anything else that might be going on. When I have a specific intention, dancing becomes a meditation on that idea, and I find it engulfing and consuming. In that sense, dancing about my experience of sexual harassment was completely natural for me, it’s just something I do. When I choreographed the piece, I didn’t necessarily intend to make it public; I just danced because it felt right.

“Clearly, dancing on the tube takes it to the next level, its exposing, and you can’t exactly pick your audience. But I wanted to make a statement, and to take a stand with my body in the exact place where my body was abused. I can’t sing or shout very loudly, but I can dance loudly.

“I first started dancing at school as a teenager, and it’s only ever been something I do for pleasure. I continued to go to classes throughout university, and I now go to evening classes at The Place. Last year I was part of Scatter – the performance company there – which got me back into performing again, and I loved it! A recent discovery of mine is Flying Low with Leila McMillan, which is an amazing high-energy class with a lot of floor work and a focus on working through your centre.”

More on The Women’s Blog on the Guardian
#takebackthetube on Twitter

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