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February 17, 2014

In Newburyport, flash mob protests violence

Suzanne Dubus, longtime of Haverhill, is center's director

NEWBURYPORT -- Nearly one hundred Newburyport-area residents gathered at the Tannery Marketplace Saturday afternoon for a group dance in protest of violence against women and children.

Dancers of all ages, primarily women, were greeted in the Tannery parking lot with a short address by Suzanne Dubus, CEO of Newburyport’s Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, which serves victims of domestic violence.

Forming up in the middle of the lot, they danced to an original tune by Tena Clark and Tim Heinz called “Break the Chain,” according to Fitness Instructor Tracey Kimball. Kimball helped to organize the event and trained many of the dancers, beginning in early January.

Participants pantomimed breaking imaginary objects over their knees in time with the snappy pop song, following choreography by actor/dancer Debbie Allen, who is best known for her role in the 1980s film Fame, Kimball said.

Planned as a “flash mob,” or sudden, public gathering, the dance was just one of hundreds happening globally on Friday and Saturday to as part of the “One Billion Rising” anti-abuse movement, said Dubus. About 40 people, many of whom were accompanying dancers, watched the show.

“I thought it was magnificent,” said Julia Steer, who had just watched her friend Regina Moormann in the mob. “Such a wonderful, fun thing to bring your spirits up about this whole subject, it just makes your heart sing.”

Moormann was both physically and emotionally exhausted after her performance.

“Although I’ve not experienced it in my own personal life, I know people who’ve gone through the crisis of abuse,” she said. “So it’s an emotional feeling, especially at the end, when you realize how many people are involved.”

“One Billion Rising” is an annual, international event created in 2012 by playwright Eve Ensler, known for her The Vagina Monologues. The “Billion” refers to the UN statistic that 1 in 3 women, or roughly a billion, will be beaten, raped or otherwise abused in their lifetime, and to the movement’s claim that last year’s event featured one billion participants in 207 countries.

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