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Reclaim the Night at the SU

Written by: UPPDC

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On the 9th February, student group members from the Pole Dance Club, Feminism Society, and Student Choir, as well at your VP Wellbeing and Diversity, Daniella Marley, united to attend an SU event to help raise awareness for the national movement ‘Take Back the Night’, and gather donations for local charities.

Together, they hosted an evening of singing, pole dancing, speeches, and poems in raising awareness for the movement, joining together for a better world for friends, family, strangers, and themselves. 


I loved hosting another pole event, it was an honour to introduce all of our incredible UPPDC performers and our new friends from Choir and FemSoc. The event was so lovely, filled with support for each club and individual involved. A big thank you to Daniella for helping make this possible! -- Emma, Reclaim the Night Host.




What is Reclaim the Night?

“Reclaim the Night came to the UK over 40 years ago. In 1977, women in Leeds took to the streets to protest the police requesting women to stay at home after dark in response to the murders of 13 women by Peter Sutcliffe. It is hard to believe we are still peacefully protesting, but we will not stop until we can walk the streets at night, without the fear of violence against women. Women still face widespread violence from day-to-day harassment in the street to sexual assault and murder.” -- Daniella Marley, VP Wellbeing and Diversity. 



Relcaim the Night at the SU

This fantastic event was free entry, with opens doors to all members of the public. 


I had a wonderful night, the girls are so welcoming, fun and super talented. All of us from the society were in awe with all the performances, absolutely jawdropping. We loved this Collab, it was so exciting and we would love to do this again.” --  Faith, Chair of the Feminist society.


Members from the Pole Dance Club shared with us more information about this national movement as well as an overview of the event...


"There were various stalls which offered free contraception and feminine hygiene products, dozens of leaflets and support services in and outside of the university, and stalls for for UPPDC and FemSoc.

Donations boxes were spread around the venue for local charity Trevi, alongside a raffle hosted by FemSoc, in which proceeds went to less known charity, Pregnancy Crisis Plymouth, who offer counselling and support to women who are dealing with abortions, baby loss, pregnancy choices. The charity supports every decision, every step of the way. FemSoc have worked alongside Pregnancy Crisis before and will continue to do so."

Daniella Marley, VP Wellbeing and Diversity opened the event, advocating support for the still-stereotyped Pole Dancing: "Pole Dancing encourages participants to embrace their bodies, regardless of shape, size, or fitness level. Our Pole Dance Club have some incredible dancers, but they are also incredible people."


The Pole Dance Club had nine members, alumni and instructors performing poems and dances throughout the night. Performances ranged from contemporary flow, exotic and burlesque, with every performer having competed in a national or inter-university competition – including many wins. The audience praised the varied styles, noted the fantastic performer-audience interactions, and recognised the girls all looked so happy when lost in their routines.  

"Alongside poems and speeches of the night, three members of Student Choir performed, with a soloist amazing the audience with her lovely rendition of ‘I Will Survive’, and the following duet bringing ‘Before He Cheats’ to life.

There was a massive emphasis on the importance of freedom and liberation of women, with the audience getting lost in the message, giving moments to reflect on the unity of everyone attending the event."


The evening was fantastic. It was lovely to see people come together under a cause so close to people’s hearts. Because the venue was open to the wider public, it was hilarious to watch the audience’s reactions to the Pole Dancers. Lots of people popping their heads round corners going ‘Wow! Look at that! How is that possible?’ Since we only had three weeks to plan this, and we were on tour for one week, I am so proud of how this event turned out. -- Elizabeth Harrison, Pole Dance President. 


Statement from Yazmin Bissenden, UPPDC member:

“The reclaim the night event embodied the sheer power of identifying as a woman and what that holds for us. As a pole dancer myself, it was beautiful to see the different channels of feminine energy, the performers were up there expressing so much of the history of womanhood.

When we dance, we dance for ourselves. We dance to channel that femininity and that flow state. We dance for the centuries of oppression forcing women to be discreet and be polite. Our dancing is a statement, a statement that supports reclaim the night perfectly, that we should be free in our own skin and that those violating that are the one’s to blame, not us.

Ultimately, we dance for ourselves and to inspire others to find a method of movement that feels just as good to them, regardless of external opinion. Everyone involved put their heart and passion into the night, and it was something truly beautiful.”


Statement from your VP Wellbeing and Diversity: 

"I am beyond proud of all of the students involved with this event. They handled every bump in the road with the upmost grace and maturity, and their event embodied everything the Reclaim The Night movement is about.

I was incredibly grateful to be given the opportunity to put on this event and to introduce the girls; acknowledging the artistry and athleticism of such an interesting sport, as well as sharing their fantastic charitable and community work throughout the year.

I was truly spellbound by their performances, from the variety of dance styles, to the poems, speeches, and songs. They seized the opportunity to educate, share resources, and raise money for fantastic causes. I'm not ashamed to say I cried my little heart out with joy after such an empowering, inspiring, and moving event."