A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)

VIDEO: Dancers, signholders show support for Fairy Creek in Victoria

A flash mob at the legislature and signs on an overpass

Two separate groups showed their support for the Fairy Creek Blockade in Victoria on April 11, days after a judge granted logging company Teal Jones an injunction to break up the blockade which has prevented the company from harvesting the old-growth forest near Port Renfrew.

Amalia Schelhorn, a professional dancer, visited the Fairy Creek blockade in early April with visions of coordinating a dance along the road filmed by drones. But drones aren’t allowed, and it’s hard to get enough dancers out there, so she settled for a sort of choreographed flash mob at the legislature on Sunday.

Dozens of people who had learned the steps to ‘Dance for the Ancient Forest’ over a Zoom class Schelhorn offered ahead of time, or from a YouTube video she posted, came to the capital Sunday afternoon dressed in greens and browns. Their physically distanced places were marked with green painters’ tape Xs, and Schelhorn led the group from the steps of the parliament building.

RELATED: Protesters defy court order, stage Easter weekend logging blockades near Cowichan Lake

The dance, set to Bruce Cockburn’s ‘If A Tree Falls,’ depicted each dancer as a tree, swaying and then being cut while Cockburn crooned, “If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear? / Anybody hear the forest fall?” through a loudspeaker.

Deborah LeFrank was one who learned the dance from YouTube.

“It occurred to me this morning that if there was just 2.7 per cent of water left, we would be reacting very differently. Or 2.7 per cent of oil left. Why is it that this commodity is not being cared about?” she asked.

Earlier in the day, another group of Fairy Creek supporters set up signs on a pedestrian overpass of Highway 17 in Saanich. Meghan Mason, an accountant who organized the event, said she was upset when the injunction was issued, meaning the protesters out at Fairy Creek will have to allow Teal Jones access to the area.

RELATED: Fairy Creek blockades must go, B.C. Supreme Court rules

“We have to stop logging old growth. Regardless of how we got here, we need to stop,” she said. Her hope with the overpass gathering was to show visible support and raise awareness.

“There’s so much support, but there haven’t been enough awareness campaigns [in Victoria]. That’s very uncharacteristic of us.”

Mason came with her husband and two friends, but everyone else who showed up, about 40, was new to her. The group hung signs from the overpass and waved at passing cars. They got lots of honks and a few middle fingers, one participant said.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca.

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Amalia Schelhorn choreographed and led the Dance for the Ancient Forest at the legislature on April 11, as a protest against old-growth logging at Fairy Creek. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)

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