Faculty and students alike expressed beauty and empowerment of women through dance at a Celebration of Women’s History Month.
“Women are so beautiful, inside and out. Being able to see where we were and where we are and our journey, it’s beautiful,” said first-year Slesha Tuladhar, an Equinox staff member who performed at the event.
About 40 students, faculty members and community members gathered on March 4 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. to celebrate women activists both in the past and in the present.
According to Patricia Pedroza Gonzalez, a professor for women’s and gender studies and American studies, this is the third year the event has been organized. It was first put on in 2018 by Ashley Betancourt. Betancourt graduated in 2019 from Keene State with a degree in women’s and gender studies as well as criminal justice. Gonzalez said Bentancourt wanted to provide a time for women involved in or interested in women’s and genders studies to sit down together and honor each other.
Betancourt approached Pedroza Gonzalez to organize the event this year. Pedroza Gonzalez said she reflects the same views of the National Women’s Studies Association, which was established in 1977 and promotes women’s studies in education, according to the National Women’s Studies Association website.
Pedroza Gonzalez opened the program by saying the evening would serve as a time to reflect, but to also remember that progress still needs to be made.
“There is still so much work to do and celebrating is a reminder that we have to keep going,” said Pedroza Gonzalez.
As the evening continued, Pedroza Gonzalez took the stage to perform a dance to the song “Malamente” by Rosalia. The song repeats “malamente,” which Pedroza Gonzalez translated to mean “this is bad,” referring to the physical and sexual violence against women.
“My dance was my symbolic way to say, ‘no more,’” said Pedroza Gonzalez.
She also played a video of a protest where women sang and danced, singing that “the oppressive state is the rapist.” Pedroza Gonzalez said that the protest’s message was that the authorities were not doing enough to protect women.
Bailey Saddlemire, a sophomore in attendance, said that the video and the dance were her favorite moments of the night. “It was super cool to watch that video of the protest and then have Patricia [Pedroza Gonzalez] dance right after it,” said Saddlemire.
Pedroza Gonzalez also invited Tuladhar and Benajil Rai to perform a Napali dance. The three have performed together at multicultural international festivals held in Keene.
Tuladhar said that she represented a girl from the Himalayas and used dance to express emotion and culture.
“Dance can be an expression of anything. When you are sad, you dance. When you are so happy, you dance. When you have an exam tomorrow and you don’t know what to do, you dance,” said Tuladhar.
March serves as Women’s Hisatory Month, but Saddlemire said “women empowerment can be promoted at all times of the year.” Pedroza Gonzalez agreed and expressed her excitement about the turnout for this year’s event.
“I’m happy that so many students came, and there will absolutely be another one next year,” said Pedroza Gonzalez.
Kiana Joler can be reached at