Run Like a Girl looks at the words and phrases permeating our cultures that chip away at the self-esteem of girls, creating a false image of girls and women as “weak.” These words and phrases are detrimental as well to boys and men, as they are taught to hide and suppress their emotions, their natural empathetic tendancies, and create a system that limits all of our potential.

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The Run Like a Girl Benin team: Wendy Jehlen, Marcel Gbeffa, Christy Dossou and Ahehehinnou Orphée

In May 2017, in partnership with dancer/choreographer Marcel Gbeffa’s Centre Chorégraphique Multicorps and funded by the Embassy of the United States in Benin, ANIKAYA conducted the first fully-implemented series of Run Like a Girl workshops.

We conducted three weeks of activities: one week of training and development for two dancers from Marcel’s Compagnie Multicorps, Christy and Orphée, who, with Marcel and Wendy, became the Run Like a Girl teaching team. The week consisted of movement work, discussion and research. The following week, the team led a five-day in Cotonou and a four-day workshop in Parakou with dancers and actors, each culminating in a showing for the public.

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Workshop at Multicorps, Cotonou

 

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Showing after workshop in Parakou

This process was a demonstration of the power of embodied knowledge, deconstructing patterns of movement and of mind and building new ones. The changes evident in just four to five days of work together are evidence that dance works.

 

We will be continuing with this project in West Africa, as well as planning workshops in India and Turkey.

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Preparing for the showing in Parakou