Macarena for a cause

Not a word was shouted about ending violence against women, but the message was clear as 100 people danced the "Macarena" in a flash mob Thursday on the courtyard bricks of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

"One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. One billion women violated is an atrocity. One billion women dancing is a revolution."

It's a message being echoed worldwide as part of One Billion Rising, a movement to end violence against women and children. Organizers spread the world of their flash mobs via Facebook and email.

OSF's flash mob was held Thursday morning; a second Ashland flash mob was planned during a YMCA zumba class at the Bellview Grange Thursday night.

"It's part of the conversation where the festival is coming together, joining five or six other dance mobs in the valley to empower women in the face of violence," said OSF actor Eduardo Placer, who planned the OSF flash mob.

Placer appears in this season's "My Fair Lady" and "Taming of the Shrew," two plays that will explore "the complex relationships between men and women," he says.

A couple hundred gathered on the bricks to celebrate One Billion Rising.

"It's time to recognize we are 50 percent of the population and we are equal participants in the human species," said participant Jill Iles.

Lisa Schumacher said the dance mob is "here for humanity and here for women, for freedom, for love, for goodness. If we end violence against women and are brought into our own conscious will, it will have positive repercussions for all people and we can meet each other as human beings on this planet, in peace and equality."

Courtney Dukelow said the dance marks "a voice rising up from the belly of Earth that's saying 'no more dishonoring of the feminine' — and that voice rises through the community and through individual lives, honoring the gift that the sacred feminine brings and ending the violence against it."

Out of breath from the five-minute romp, Georgia Kollanda said, "It's about standing with all women. It's way past time for this. It has to stop now. When one in three in the U.S. military are being raped by their comrades, that's the silent epidemic."

"I'm here taking a personal stand against it," said Darcy Danielson, music coordinator at OSF. "And, no, I do not think it's changing yet. I have to wonder if displays like this make any difference, but we have to participate and make our stand against the violence."

Yoga teacher Mona Therese Winston observed that progress has "gone far, but not far enough. There's a lot to do for us to be equal and for women to rise into their own power, with no fear and be able to walk a dark street."

Royer Bockus, who plays Bianca in "Shrew" and also appears in "My Fair Lady," said she joined in the global event because "we have to make the statement that there's something very wrong with the system before we change it."

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at

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