11 September 2019

The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever is back in the Bega Valley supporting domestic violence services

| Elka Wood
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Kate Bush impersonators meet Wuthering Heights. Photo: Supplied.

Kate Bush impersonators meet Wuthering Heights in The Bega Valley. Photo: Supplied.

If you’ve never seen the music video for Kate Bush’s 1978 song Wuthering Heights, (and I hadn’t until now) the connections between the musician, flowing red dresses, free-form dancing, Emily Bronte’s 1847 classic and domestic violence might seem tenuous – at best.

But a global phenomenon, The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever, has sprung out of the song and for the second time, the Bega Valley is joining in – dancing like no-one is watching!

“Kate Bush was not a trained dancer, she wasn’t technically perfect, she was just there, dancing,” local event coordinator Mica Mahani says.

“I think that’s what makes this day so successful and accessible, it’s open to everyone, maybe even especially amateurs.”

Mica was 25 and mourning the death of her mother when she rediscovered Kate Bush.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I didn’t really want to do anything,” she reflects “and Kate was my inspiration. I looked at her and realised I wanted to dance and thought – I can do that.

Event organizer Mica Mahani at last year's inaugural Bega Valley Wuthering Heights day. Photo: Supplied.

Event organizer Mica Mahani at last year’s inaugural Bega Valley Wuthering Heights day. Photo: Supplied.

This year, the group has made it a more ‘official event’ than the first year, with a touring bus, tickets for sale and a cause. Any profits from bus ticket sales will be donated to the local Domestic Violence Committee, which is made up of local service providers.

It is no coincidence that right around the world the event has become a symbol for standing in solidarity against violence towards women.

“I’m listening to Wuthering Heights as an audiobook at the moment and it’s so painful in terms of domestic violence. It’s excruciating, 13 hours of pain,” Mica says “I don’t know how I didn’t see it when I first read the book as a teenager.”

While we may not be able to remove Emily Bronte’s work from the literary canon, or edit out the physical and emotional abuse of women in the story, drawing attention to how normalised violence against women has been in the past may help us all notice it and speak up when it happens today.

A selection of last year's Kate Bush impersonators. Photo: Tammy Glass.

A selection of last year’s Kate Bush impersonators. Photo: Tammy Glass.

Although the cause supports the protection of women, that doesn’t mean it’s an all-female crowd on the day. All Kate Bush fans and impersonators are welcome to join the bus touring Bega, Tathra Headland, and Merimbula.

“There are plenty of bearded Kate Bush’s, kids, all are welcome. Last year we had two 15-year-old boys – is that not the hardest demographic to reach?” Mica jokes “being in costume is a great way to be seen and invisible at the same time.”

While Mica and the 16 members of her dance group ‘The Great Bush’ bought their costumes from a costume maker last year, the key features are to wear red, flowing clothes with splashes of black, especially a black belt or scarf around the waist.

Bonus points for a flower in your hair or behind the ear!

Marianna Yi and Tammy Glass at last year's event. Photo: Tammy Glass.

Marianna Yi and Tammy Glass at last year’s event. Photo: Tammy Glass.

Mica is teaching some Kate Bush dance moves leading up the event on Saturday, July 13. Classes are $10 each with the purchase of a bus ticket or $15 for a one-off class.

Dance classes will be held at 11 am Sunday, June 30 and 6 pm Tuesday, July 9 at Funhouse Studio, Bega or 3 pm Thursday, July 11 at Navigate Arts, Tanja.

Mica encourages anyone on the fence to check out the tutorials available on YouTube, or just throw yourself in and follow along on the day.

On Saturday, July 13 – The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever, meet at the Old Bega Racecourse at 10 am to kick off the dancing.

Other locations where you can join in are: Tathra Headland – 11:15 am, Short Point Headland Merimbula – 12:15, and Littleton Gardens Bega – 1:45 pm.

To join in or watch at any of these locations is free, but tickets are available to join the bus via Trybooking.

If finances are holding you back from joining in, please contact Mica through Trybooking.

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