We’d love for you to dance with us.
Here are our rules/expectations:
Everyone can dance, and so can you! In this space, we support everyone's dance, and we will not tolerate any dancer who ridicules or makes fun of anyone else in the space who shows the courage to dance.
We will not dance with anyone who demonstrates that they are or shows any support for bigotry. By bigotry, we mean, at the very least, anything that expresses racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, nationalism, or homophobia.
We often dance with unhoused people who live in the spaces we dance. This is their space, and we will respect their wishes. If even one unhoused person asks us to move for whatever reason, we shall leave the space and go somewhere else. We also mean by this rule respecting the other dancers. For example, if someone asks you to social distance because of their needs around COVID, we ask that you respect their wishes. This is also a general rule that means something like "Be good to each other." (unless you are a fascist, and then you are NOT welcome).
We play music with lyrics that often call for the end of capitalism, the United States of America, the police, and many other topics. While we often dance to all kinds of other music, if you are joining us just to dance, just note that the music might offend you. Also, for anyone concerned about their children, music may contain sexually explicit lyrics. Don't request a music change, as we will not be changing our playlists.
And our FAQ:
We dance potentially in any outdoor space in any place we end up (we don't limit ourselves to Bozeman), but we most commonly dance in downtown Bozeman's Soroptomist Park. We also often dance at the traffic circle at College and 11th. We dance when we feel like it, more often in late afternoons or evenings. If you want to dance with us and know when, contact us so we can tell you. Dances typically don't last longer than 90 minutes.
This is a huge question that will soon no doubt be the subject of an essay. You can find a rationale, though, currently at the About BAD page. But, the short answer is we dance because we must, because we are art, and we don't believe there is true revolution without movement.
Our dances are always free. We don't solicit donations, either.
Yes, all ages are welcome. We do caution parents that some lyrics may use vulgar or sexually explicit language. If that is a concern to you, just note that.
We generally dance on public property, and so all dancing should be legal free speech; however, we are not lawyers. Sometimes, we combine our dances with protest, which also is legal.
To date, they have always been safe; nevertheless, this is a good question. Aly and I dance regularly just the two of us, and the most we have encountered are some people angry with hostile remarks. However, when we combine protest with dance as we occasionally do, these issues become more emotional. During one non-dance protest, a man once spat on Aly and attempted to block her from walking down the sidewalk. As such, we therefore cannot guarantee your safety. So, we recommend that you come with at least a friend you trust. If for some reason, you feel unsafe either because of an outside threat or by someone who has joined the dance party, you can find me (Jim) and/or Aly, and we will do our best to support you. We think this event should be safe as we are simply calling on people to dance with us, but one never knows in a town where a woman is punched in the face, held down for six minutes, and tied up by the police force. Moreover, we are not blind to patriarchy, not blind to the ways people of color and women are made unsafe not just by the authorities but by people we encounter every day who assert their privilege in all kinds of unsavory ways. So, while we see no reason for it to be unsafe, we ask that you come with support and hopefully trust that Aly and I will do our best to support you.
There are lots of pictures of Aly and I on the website, and we are generally dressed up, and so it should be easy.
We really do encourage you to dance with us, but we don’t own or control the space. We simply are providing it. You may come with any supportive sign and of course don't need to dance with us. However, if we don't feel comfortable with you, just as you reserve the right to leave, we reserve the right to leave. But generally, we support people who want to speak out and don't need to fully agree. Just don't be a freaking fascist.
9. Can I dance with you even if I don’t support antifa or the beliefs you express on your website or social media?
Well, if you aren't a fascist, you aren't a bigot, you are respecting people's space and the unhoused residents of any park you are in, of course you may dance with us even if you don't support our beliefs besides. We aren't seeking an ideological purity test. These feel like really basic things. Be good to each other, respect people, and don't support state or corporate oppression of people. That's a pretty high chunk of you. Moreover, most of our dances are simply dances and not overtly an expression of our larger beliefs. Dancing and creating space for everyone being welcome to dance to us is a very significant statement of our beliefs. It may be non-controversial to say, "Dance!", and yet so few are doing so in public spaces. So, we think there is something a lot more profound to the call to dance than people imagine. In short, if you respect others and want a supportive environment, come dance with us!
We are very serious about this point and believe that the idea of "good dancing" is nonsensical. You either dance or you don't, and if you don't, you're not fully activating what makes you human. Yes, one might be better at worse at tango or some ballroom dance or tap dance, or this or that kind of dance. But dancing in its pure form is just to be human and have the intention of movement. Somewhere, we lost that. So, you really can dance, even if you don't have legs, even if movement is otherwise an issue for you. You can dance, and so just show up and do it, and we will support you.
Music spans genres. Playlists tend to be heavy in indie, indie pop, pop, punk, hip hop, and funk, but it will be a wide variety. If you want to help us with playlists, let us know in advance, and we'll be happy to accommodate.
As an outdoor venue, there will be no official restrictions, and people will need to do their best to care for themselves. Aly and I will be masked, but you can do as your conscience calls. We just ask that you respect anyone’s expressed desire for social distance. If you have COVID concerns, please let us know so that we can work with you.
NO. We have called the space and set the rules for our participation in the space. We will also be providing music. However, once we assemble at the site, we step back and join everyone who participates. We are not spokespeople to talk to police; we do not make decisions on behalf of the group. Once we are there, we are all in this together and will work together to make the space what we want it. And if the space turns into something we don’t want, we will simply walk away, as we encourage anyone else to do based on their conscience. The way to avoid the space disintegrating is to create one based in consensus where we all make decisions together and honor each other. If that’s not happening, bummer, and we go our separate ways. If it does happen, it’s a beautiful expression of what we believe a world without police might actually look like.
Too few. Often, it's just the two of us (Aly and Jim), but sometimes we have a few others. At times, larger groups have joined us for a song or part of a song. Often, one or more unhoused residents will dance with us, particularly in Soroptomist Park where several residents now know us. We don't judge what we do by numbers, but if you come, there will be at least one more, and we'll be happy to have you.
15. So, when you do protest, or if the police do show up, what are your rules about engaging police or counter-protesters?
We cannot tell you how you should or should not engage, but we encourage no engagement with police, and certainly no one should believe they can engage with police or any other authority on behalf of the entire group. You are under no legal obligation to talk with police, and silence is usually your best defense. As far as anyone who chooses to counter-protest, that’s up to you how you respond. Just be mindful of others in the space and what consequences your actions have on those around you. Please use care and common sense. I plan just to keep on dancing.
16. You call yourselves Bozeman Antifa Dance, and so what is antifa, and are you from out of town or funded by someone?
So, one of the lies of right-wing media is that there is some bogeyman organization called Antifa out to stir up trouble in your communities and that they come from out of town and are funded by billionaires, such as George Soros. Well, BAD is really just Aly White and Jim Macdonald. Aly was born in Bozeman, and Jim has been here since 2007. No one funds us. And antifa simply means “anti-fascist”. So, we are puzzled why anyone wouldn’t be an anti-fascist. Now, yes, we are also anarchists. We do want to stir up trouble and break down the institutions that create the illegitimate hierarchies of classism, racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, abelism, straight-ism, nationalism, or anything else that sets one human up as more worthy and empowered over another. We refuse to hide who we are. We realize most of you probably aren’t with us on that. But if you trust we mean well and that our hearts are in the right place, we’re willing to extend that trust to you. We’re just asking you to dance with us while we might have a banner up that says “Abolish the Police” or some other message we believe in. You all will come with your own reasons. We respect that diversity so long as it is essentially anti-fascist. You all may have your different tactics for getting there; we respect that. We simply ask that you respect ours. Our tiny collective of two is not affiliated with any other group. We are doing this ourselves because that’s what we believe, that anyone can stand and dance for their beliefs. Yes, we hope that is dangerous to a society that is fundamentally built on injustice and disempowerment, but we don’t mean it to be dangerous to you. We aren’t the ones who will shoot you in the name of the law or arrest or imprison you for God knows what. We stand with you as you seek your own form of expression, so that you can self-determine your life and live in harmony with your family, friends, and community.