The Clams: Q&A with water ballet troupe focused on raising period awareness
Photos by: Bri Hammond
An Australian feminist book club turned water ballet troupe, raising money for period products.
It may sound like a Mad Libs, but these 30 women celebrated menstruation through a period themed water ballet performance on March 18th. But they didn’t stop there. Through their ticket sales, they raised money for Share the Dignity, an organization dedicated to providing period products to women in need. Here’s what the creator, Francis van Beek (or Clamsis Clam Beek when she’s in Clam mode) had to say about the Clams:
MimpMag: What inspired the Clams?
Francis: The idea of establishing a Melbourne team started more than a year ago as a joke, over a few wines, at a feminist book club of all places. We're not so great at reading the same book at the same time, and it became a long standing joke that we try water ballet instead. MM: Why did you pick water ballet to end period shaming?
F: Six years ago I was part of an Auckland water ballet team called the Wet Hot Beauties. I didn't have a major role, but I loved it!
MM: Who are the Clams?
F: The Clams are a group of 30 women, united by their enthusiasm for feminism. We have accountants, musicians, marketing professionals, business-owners. You name it, they're on the team and they've all been so willing to lend their expertise to help this crazy project come to fruition. Hardly anyone has a dance background, although there is one water polo player in the mix! And a few BeyDance alumni.
MM: What were your goals for this performance?
F: The fact so many other women were so enthusiastic about jumping on board with this project makes it pretty clear periods are no longer taboo in our (albeit inner northern Melbourne) circle. What we want to do now though is actually own the period, without even acknowledging there's anything to be embarrassed about. Because there isn't.
MM: Why did you pick Share the Dignity as the organization to support?
F: We are embarrassed that there are women here [in Australia] who are living without basic necessities like pads and tampons, to facilitate this very basic body function. Which is why it makes so much sense for us to support Share the Dignity.
The Clams are an incredible example of feminists in action. And they’re having a bloody good time while they’re at it!