With the current political climate as terrible and terrifying as it is, the last thing you may want to do is get up and dance. But, according to Professor Michael Gould, that is actually the first thing you should do.
The 2020 “Dance for Democracy” is an evening at the UMMA of live music, dancing and democratic engagement. On Tuesday, Mar. 10, three bands — E. Reid with Kultur Grenade (for which Gould is the drummer), local band The Kelseys and funk band Sabbatical Bob — will perform, while event organizers help attendees become more democratically engaged. The event is free and open to all U-M students, with a capacity of 300 people, no matter what their political ideals are.
Gould got the idea when frustration from the disappointing news cycle threatened to overtake him.
“The only thing at that moment that popped into my mind was locking myself in a room and dancing my ass off until exhaustion,” Gould wrote in an email interview with The Daily. “What a funny thought — so, I decided to act upon this and do something positive.”
This event is meant to bring together students from all across the political spectrum. Everyone is feeling the frustration, no matter their political ideals. But that doesn’t mean we can’t all dance together and try to understand each other’s opinions.
“My thought was let’s bring everyone together in a large venue — blue, red, purple … to enjoy the democratic process without the divisiveness that has raged across the US,” Gould wrote.
The event will strongly emphasize voting. There will be tables with information specific to voting to ensure a large voting turnout among college students.
“I think everyone’s voice and vote matters and it is extremely important that college aged students get out and vote — we need your input on how you want the future of our country to be run,” Gould wrote.
Gould also addressed the potential of the event to facilitate dialogue across the political spectrum.
“My hope is that everyone gets out on the dance floor — builds up a good sweat and then takes a break and talks about their views in a civilized manner,” Gould wrote. “It is hard to be angry after dancing your ass off to great music — music is one of the greatest ways to bring people together … so come out and express yourself in motion and then talk in the tabling section or the periphery of the event. Give the opposing view a chance and a hug or high five or fist bump (hey, and wash your hands).”
No matter how you’re feeling about the presidential candidates, Gould and those with “Dance for Democracy” want to emphasize the importance of voicing your opinions and allowing others to voice theirs. Part of what keeps our democracy intact is freedom to have discussions like this, and if they can be done with dancing, then even better.
“Even if you feel discouraged about the political process, shy about dancing, scared about what is going to happen with the upcoming election — come on out and talk to other people who most likely feel the same — and in the process, hear some great music that will hopefully get you moving,” Gould wrote.