Bellydancing, books and Kate Bush – 10 things to do at York International Women’s Festival

Join the flashmob inspired by Kate Bush. Photograph: YouTube
1 Mar 2016 @ 9.33 am
| Entertainment

Seventy-five events over 17 days spanning music, film, drama, comedy, poetry, health, politics, art, dance, shopping and cake.

If that’s not a celebration of women, we don’t know what is.

Here are just a few of the York International Women’s Festival events we think you might enjoy.

A Right Knees Up!

Dance like nobody's watching (even though everyone is) Photograph ©
Dance like nobody’s watching (even though everyone is) Photograph © istolethetv on Flickr

Get your dancing trousers freshly pressed for a fun evening of jigging, bopping and, if you’re in the mood, shakin’ your thing, at the National Centre for Early Music from 7-9.30pm on Friday March 4.

There’s live music from Rinkadon Jukeboy and his Blind Tiger Dance Band, an inclusive dance workshop for all ages and the premiere of Steady Past Your Grandma While She’s Dancing, a joyful film about four generations of women.

The event, hosted by the Arts Barge, costs £5 (£2 for Guildhall Ward residents; free for under-12s).

Women of York Walking Tour

Follow in the footsteps of some of York’s most famous women with the launch of a new walking guide that charts the history of female achievement in the city, including inspirational figures like Margaret Clitheroe, Mary Ward, Grace White, Elizabeth Inchbald and the Bronte sisters.

There’s a free talk at York St John University at 11am on Saturday March 5th to mark the launch, then you can walk the walk on a self-guided tour.

Frock for Frock

Swap your previously loved clothes for some new-to-you pieces
Swap your previously loved clothes for some new-to-you pieces

Bored with your wardrobe? Well, why not shake up your fashion collection while doing your bit to raise money for women and girls in north-west Pakistan?

Back by popular demand at St Clements Hall in Nunthorpe Road, this clothes swap event from 2-4pm on Sunday March 6 gives you the chance to offload at least three items of good quality but unwanted clothes and buy a whole host of new-to-you bits and bobs for just £1 each.

Admission is £3, including tea and cake, and there’s a raffle and a jewellery stall run by the Friends of Khwendo Kor.

Pop-Up Book Group

Discuss the ‘best of the best’ of the recent winners of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (it’s Half Of Yellow Sun by Chichimanda Adichie, in case you were wondering) at a free pop-up book group at York Explore Library from 6.30-7.30pm on Monday March 7.

If you haven’t got a copy of the book, they’ve got plenty at the library.

Women, Wine & Romance

York Explore Library - the perfect place for a romantic assignation
York Explore Library – the perfect place for a romantic assignation

York authors Donna Douglas, Emma Garcia, Jessica Gilmore and Jessica Hart, who’ve written more than 80 books between them, discuss the current climate in romantic fiction (it’s quite hot apparently) at York Explore Library from 6-7pm on Tuesday March 8.

If you want to know more about this billion-dollar industry powered by women, about women and for women, it’ll cost you just £4 (booking advised).

Ambush – The Kate Bush Flash Mob

Leotard? Check. Unmanageable hair? Check. Obsession with Emily Bronte? Check. OK, you’ve passed the unofficial test to join the Kate Bush flash mob in Museum Gardens at 1.15pm on Wednesday March 9.

Everyone is welcome to join in the epic dance routine to Wuthering Heights to celebrate Kate and Emily – both icons in their own wild and windy fields.

There are rehearsals at York St John University dance studio at 2pm and 6.30pm on March 2 and 4pm on March 4. Or you can just turn up on the day and bust your own distinct moves.

Crow On The Cradle

Riding Lights Theatre Company and Northern Women for Palestine host an eye-opening evening of drama, film and photography featuring dramatised testimonies from Palestinian women and children written by Juliana Mensah.

The free event (donations welcome) takes place at Friargate Theatre at 7.30pm on Thursday March 10.

Bellydance: Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway

This might be a bit advanced for your first go, but what the heck Photograph ©  Stuart Bassi on Flikr
This might be a bit advanced for your first go, but what the heck Photograph © Stuart Bassi on Flikr

You don’t have to bare your belly to learn how to belly dance, but why the heck not? Whether you’ve got a button of the sticky-in or sticky-out variety, all are welcome to learn this confidence-building dance technique at the Melbourne Centre in Escrick Street from 2-4pm on Saturday March 12.

This fun and empowering workshop, led by a dance teacher and counsellor, is just £6.

Kyra Women’s Project Open Day

Kyra Women’s Project helps vulnerable women in the local community. If you want to know more about its work, pop along to CMC in St Saviourgate from 1-4pm on Thursday March 17.

You’ll meet some of the women who have benefited from the group’s help and enjoy a bit of cake and crafting in the courtyard.

We Love Film Presents: Miss Representation

Following the success of Suffragette starring Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep, the Women’s Equality Party York launches a regular film night at The Basement.

It’s first movie – Miss Representation – is a real eye-opener about the misrepresentation of women in the media. Admission is £5 (£2 for concessions) and includes a post-screening talk and discussion.