Saturday, June 22, 2024

Dancing for old-growth: FlashMobs for Forests is happening in Saanich next week


A special and impactful flashmob is coming our way, Victoria!

Under the direction of Amalia Schelhorn, a retired First Soloist with the National Ballet of Canada and ballet teacher, and organizer/activist Jane Welton, the FlashMob for Forests will take place on Thursday, September 28th at 12 p.m. as a part of the United for Old Growth movement.

While the general location has been listed as the outdoors in the Saanich south riding, the exact location won’t be released until the day of, but it’ll be at a central and easily accessible spot—so, stay tuned!

According to the release, this flashmob has been organized as part of a province-wide day of action for old growth protection and hopes to draw attention to actions needed to address rising climate issues and the continuation of logging old growth.

“For me, [this] was an opportunity to do something unique,” Welton told Victoria Buzz.

“I like the idea that a dancing flashmob is enjoyable for people to watch, that people…are drawn in…and through it can become educated and inspired.”

There will be a large group of dancers participating, all producing visuals through movement nature-related costumes.

(Flashmob in Mayfair Mall 2022 / Courtesy of Jane Welton)

Schelhorn’s activist journey began in 2020 after she became involved in the Fairy Creek blockades. Since then, she has strived to combine her artistic skills with activism—choreographing and leading dances for forest protection ever since. 

“I was not always involved in environmental advocacy. At least not in a public way,” Schelhorn said.

“I wanted to do something on a larger scale for the environmental movement, but couldn’t see my way in…then, I visited the Fairy Creek blockades. I hiked into Eden Grove and was filled with awe when walking through that ancient magical forest. I was also horrified to realize that it could soon be yet one more of the many clearcuts scarring the hillsides all around.” 

It was because of this that she planned her first ever protest dance with over 40 people, young and old.

They made it onto TV and gained a tonne of media attention and her continued presence at the blockade later led to her arrest—a case that she won.

(Amalia’s arrest at Fairy Creek / Courtesy of Jane Welton)

Welton, similar to Schelhorn, uses music to inspire change—motivated by her love of nature and her children’s future on this planet. She recently sang for social and environmental justice with the choir, Resistance Rising. 

“On a personal level, I have always loved children and nature, and see the two as belonging together,” Welton said.

“I fear a future in which children have little access to nature and are terrified of it, due to extreme weather events and wildfires.”

Welton is a volunteer co-lead of Greater Victoria Acting Together’s Climate Justice Team and is a member of its Forestry Sub-Committee with Schelhorn.

“Having conversations about climate change, listening to others and continuing to educate ourselves is so important. At this critical time for the planet everyone’s contribution counts,” Schelhorn said.

They both believe this will gain the attention of onlookers and social media, as videotaping is expected to take place from witnesses and supporters. 

Both women shared their hopes to inspire action by “harnessing the power of art with respect to climate change” and have us all work towards a healthy planet our future generations can look forward to living in.

FlashMob for Forests

  • Where: Somewhere in Saanich
  • When: Thursday, September 28th at 12 p.m.

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