The Traxx dance crew, as in “Totally Radical Activism XXtreme” were inspired by the Pink Bloque. Here is our interview with them:
PB: How was Traxx formed?
Traxx was highly inspired by the Pink Bloque. One of the founding members, Kristin Anderson, is a former Chicago resident and Bloquer. When the Pink Bloque was on their Unjustified Tour on the East Coast in 2003, a couple of ladies saw the dances and political message and were interested in joining the PB. Katy emailed the PB and was informed that Kristin had just moved to NYC and was looking to start something there. PB wanted to remain local, so Kristin and Katy and a number of other feminists starting brainstorming what to do in NYC, and thus Traxx was beginning to take shape. Jenni moved from the Midwest to NYC and she and Kristin connected. A random occurrence in a university elevator with Rashauna, who was wearing a PB button from the tour, added more people to the mix. Traxx is still in the process of gaining more members. Currently we have six members: Jenni Cushman, Kristin Anderson, Rashauna Zumburg, Katy Weselcouch, Kpeone Kofi-Bruce and Alix Allison. TRAXX = Totally Radical Activism XXtreme. Our theme: Making Traxx in the radical movement and using dance. We are working on getting matching Traxx suits too!
PB: What issues have you done actions about?
Traxx debuted to the public at the Republican Convention in NYC, summer 2004. Dancing to “Toxic” by Britney Spears because 1) Bush is Toxic, 2) Traxx's Bush is PH Balanced, and 3) Britney normally supports, Bush so we wanted to flip the script. August 2004 critical mass bike ride Traxx danced on the sidelines in support.
November 2nd: Election Day at the MTV studios to try and get on TRL live. (They didn't let us in.) So we danced outside to “Toxic” and the melody of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cindy Lauper with the chorus changed to “Girls just want to VOTE.”
March 2005, we danced at the Theatres Against War event and for International Women's Day (in Times Square) to “Get Right by J-LO with the theme as “Get rights” (as in women & human rights!).
For Equal Pay Day April 19th, we danced on Wall Street NYC during the morning rush to “Lady in Red” by Chris de Burgh because ladies are still in the red due to 76 cents to the dollar.
May 1st/May Day 2005: Danced in Union Square to “Get (workers) Rights” and “Lady in (the) Red” to recognize worker's rights.
PB: What about using dance in protest appealed to your group?
We feel that using dance and performance creates engagement of the masses from a different perspective regarding politics and social justice issues. Plus it makes it fun for us! Creating puns out of pop music makes us giggle hysterically—each and every time we hear the songs.
PB: What have your experiences been in using dance and popular songs in your actions?
Overall, folks seem to enjoy our messages and us. What is most interesting is that while many people tend to run away from protesters, many people actually come up to us and ask us what we are doing. They often take our flyers and engage in short conversations with us. We have even been asked if we are filming a commercial?!?! For us, it feels great to do actions! Sometimes the organizing of things gets a bit tedious, but as soon as we are outside and shakin' booties we feel and look great!
PB: Where do you get your clothes from for the actions?
We are fairly DIY, either gathering clothes from local thrift stores, our own closets, and from American Apparel - depending on the action.
Toxic- yellow shirts/green skirts from thrift
Get Rights - green/gold tracksuit from American Apparel
Lady in (the) Red -- red dress/gowns from our closets
We've gathered socks from a store called "Freaks" on St. Marks place between 2nd and 3rd Avenues and some cute accessories from the store "Girl Props" on 8th St. around 5th Ave.
PB: What has been your favorite song to dance to?
I think all of them have been fun! We have mixed up our dance styles from hip hop to waltz to tango to fake ballet! Toxic seems to have gotten the most response, though...
PB: What are your plans for the future?
To continue to mix it up and push the envelope on performance, art, politics, dance, cute outfits and support for radical feminism and social justice.
PB: How could someone on the street tell that it was Traxx throwing down moves and not the Pink Bloque?
Some of our ideas are similar to the PB in terms of using dance and politics and cuteness, but Traxx colors are green and gold—think school gym uniform—and we use both contemporary and old pop tunes in our dances. We perform in public, on the street, at political actions and for academic institutions.
PB: Is there anything else you want to add about your experiences as an activist street dance team?
It means so much to be able to get out a human rights and radical message and have so much fun and love the people around you at the same time. The people in the group are so inspirational!