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Valuing, inspiring empowering: How we rescue girls through dance

Here at Meninadança we believe in the power of dance to transform lives that have been broken by abuse, exploitation and violence. One of the phrases we use is the ‘re-signification and appropriation of the body’.

Principally, sexual violence is perpetrated against a girl’s body. Therefore we need to help her give new meaning to her body. Dance helps us to do this. Why? Because in the process of seeing herself, expressing herself, moving her body and paying attention to what moves her, the girl learns that this body is not an object for someone else’s pleasure. “My body is what I am, it houses my emotions, it houses my history, it carries the marks and memories of what I lived, traumas, joys”. So this process of re-signifying, or finding new meaning, in her body can really bring change.

The other word, ‘appropriation’, is when a girl realises that “My body is mine!”.  By getting to know her body, its capabilities and limits, she also learns to say ‘no’. When someone touches her in a way she doesn’t want, she knows that means disrespect, because she now knows her body and who she is, and has learned to love and respect herself.

When a girl has found new meaning and ownership of her body, she also finds the freedom to express herself artistically. Her body can speak, imagine, dream, recreate the world, because she no longer sees herself as a helpless observer of the world, but as someone who can change it, the protagonist of her own story. 

She knows that she can make choices, forge relationships, have opinions and express her ideas, things that seemed impossible before. She can now imagine a better world, and knows she is capable of creating something that is beautiful and true.

  • by Lorene Zaca  & Bárbara Bento, Meninadança’s Artistic Coordinators