The politics of dancing at ADE Green

Monday, 15 October 2018
ADE Green looks at the club world's political challenges, failings and victories, hoping to continue and amplify some of the most important conversations happening throughout the underground currently.

Looking back at the announcements of the City Tour: South and FACT Mag's Against The Clock, we shift focus to our conference program with the politics of dancing within ADE Green.

Every festival visitor has their own specific issues regarding representation, appropriation, harassment, prohibition, gentrification and more. But, among all the noise, does all this amount to anything? Can dance culture serve as a valid vehicle for progressive politics?

Look at Bassiani in Tbilisi, Georgia – which has become a symbol of clubbing as a sanctuary for LGBTQ+ people and a locus for protest against oppressive policing. Or Block9's project bringing dance music royalty to collaborate with Palestinian musicians. In addition, Uganda's MTN Nyege Nyege festival, serves to challenge clichés and preconceptions of the African continent, and which has the promotion of liberal and inclusive values at its heart.

Netherlands-based, Serbian-born artist and filmmaker Bogomir Doringer, reminds us how the movement of bodies around one another in clubs like Bassiani is also a political statement. London's new club venue The Cause channels its profits to mental health charities and local community projects.

Besides artists and organizations striving to be politically well, there are also cases in which the correctness should be checked. Marea Stamper - aka The Black Madonna - is circumspect, admitting that, for example on the progress of women in the DJ scene, there is both numerical and anecdotal evidence that representation is improving, but cautioning that “what's important then is to drill down into: who are those women, and when we say 'women' do we mean women who are not disabled, do we mean white women, do we mean just American and European women? Even: are there actually more women, or is it just a few of us [getting] all the bookings?”

DJ Funk Butcher has worked with the Mayor's office on events themed on women's representation. However, he says, “music industry responses to the issues around racial diversity, gender representation, sexual conduct etcetera rate between nonexistent and tepid... the largest resistance to change comes from the beneficiaries of the certain aspects, which includes artists, clubbing spaces, agencies and big business.”

What Bassiani, MTN Nyege Nyege and all the rest show is that club culture is at its very best and that it is, among the clamour of arguments and ideologies, worth fighting – and dancing – for.

At Nachtlab, raving has been instrumental in promoting positive change and social justice, complementing the ideology of the ADE Green panel Rave for a Revolution! Nachtlab is proud to be ADE Green's partner and support social change by staging activist voices from the music industry.