In response to the ban on dancing at monuments and subsequent arrests at the Jefferson Memorial, the Dance Liberation Front (DLF) has mobilized for a national protest on Saturday, June 11: "Do the Robot" Day.
While cardboard outfits are encouraged, they are not required. By joining in the street dance and imitating a dancing robot, supporters are helping to "resist tyranny in all its forms!" according to the DLF statement. "Don't BE a robot: DO the robot!"
"The government makes laws regarding dance while refusing to define dance," reads the announcement. "It is an affront to the very core of America's right to free expression. Not only that, we believe that dancing people are happy people and happy people are part of the solution, not part of the problem. We believe in the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. And what is happiness if not dancing?"
While spontaneous street dances are encouraged at 3 p.m. on Saturday, details were still being solidified for the location of the New York dance action. To ensure the robots are not mistaken for security threats, permits are in the process of being secured, and a legal orderly demonstration is expected. (The DLF notes: "We are *hoping* for Federal Hall and are in the process of applying for permits since we have pets that we love and can't be arrested and taken away from them if even for a day.")
The recent videotaped arrests of dancers at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. have sparked a national outcry. The Parks Department has said they are reviewing the incident to determine if excessive force was used in subduing the dancers, who were quietly dancing in place to protest a judge's ruling earlier this year that dance was not covered by freedom of speech.
The Dance Liberation Front was formed in 1998 (by performers Robert Prichard, Faceboy and Reverend Jen) to fight the archaic New York City Cabaret Law, which regulates people's right to move their bodies rhythmically. Previous DLF dance actions have included a Hokey Pokey Circle around City Hall, a Conga Line up Avenue A, a Million Mambo March, an attempt to defect to Cuba (where dancing is legal), a Times Square Twist-a-Thon and establishing a liberated dance zone outside of "Footloose: The Musical."