Women of Consequence (WOC) – ambitious, ancillary and anonymous
Historically, women have contributed to the political landscape of America and South Africa from the 1800s but have often been viewed as ancillary and, at worst, anonymous. Through the lens of an interdisciplinary dance-based research project titled Women of Consequence – Ambitious, Ancillary and Anonymous, post-secondary students unearth, explore and share untold stories of women activists and leaders in embodied ways that transcend the disciplinary and professional borders of dance as well as institutional and cultural borders. What is lost, disrupted or gained when students, artists and teachers engage in collaborative dance initiatives across borders and around shared complex realities? This chapter will share insights into this USA/South African cross-cultural collaboration that brought together students from two different universities on two different continents to engage with each other and past and present generations of women activists in their respective countries and beyond through research and choreography. Further aims of the project were to promote critical discussion on freedom of expression for all women and to deepen young people’s understanding of the role and significance of women in social/political activism across the United States and South Africa. The results of this project will be an example of cross-cultural collaboration, its tensions and possibilities.