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Valentine’s Day: Rise Up Rockland

2013-01-28-Terpsichore_1.jpg ©2013 Lisa Levart Goddess on Earthby Lisa Levart

Eve Ensler, the award-winning playwright and activist, has issued a call to action. On February 14, women and men around the world will heed the call and dance to end violence against women. One billion people are expected to rise and move with passion, for in the world we live in today, one in three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.

In ancient Greece, it was believed that the pursuit of the humanities could bring us closer to the sacred. Dance, music, painting and literature, according to Greek mythology, were given to humankind by the nine Muses. The Goddess Terpsichore in particular brought us the love of dance.

On a Malibu beach, with the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean, Holly Irwin Bassuk embodied Terpsichore for Goddess on Earth. Speaking from her heart, she wrote: “Dancing is about saying the un-sayable – expressing what words cannot.”

Rockland Rising:
Be Part of a Flash Mob to End Violence Against Women

Why Rise? As part of Eve Ensler’s V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, Rockland will be part of an organizing effort to engage ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence on Thurs Feb 14 at 5p on the first floor of the Palisades Center Mall. Flash mob meets¬† by H&M.

For more information, visit

Holly is right.

Words cannot express the horrific gang rape of a 21-year-old woman in a Delhi bus who later dies from her injuries. Words cannot express the outrageous gunning down of an 11-year-old girl in Pakistan for voicing her love of education. Words cannot express the inhuman sentence of death by stoning to a 23-year-old Sudanese woman for adultery.

As I photographed Holly dancing on the beach, I watched her strong form catch the sun’s refracted light and move with the power of the Pacific waves. Her form revealed an insight into the Muses from antiquity: that beauty, vitality and art are not trivial pursuits, but real alternatives to a world ridden with suffering and violence. So if words cannot express what is in our hearts, why not dance?

Friedrich Nietzsche said: “those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” Well, I’m not crazy. I hear a drum pulsing in the distance and am going to rise in solidarity because it’s time to tell a new story, one more primal, emboldened, and energized. And when I watch others dancing on February 14th, I will see, like the ancient images of the Goddess, strength, power and indefatigable courage. As Eve wrote in her powerful new monologue “Rising” it will “not be a question of inventing/but remembering.”

To find and join an event go to: One Billion Rising

Lisa Levart is an award winning photographer whose images have appeared in numerous publications and exhibitions worldwide. Her book of portraits, Goddess on Earth, received the GOLD Nautilus Book Award and features many women from the Rockland area. Goddess on Earth can be purchased at Saffron and Sanctuary in Nyack and online at

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