At once, inspiring, empowering, and controversial, SWAN Day CT (Support Women Artists Now) is in its 8th year as a global movement. Started by WomenArts, CT has been on the forefront and highly-regarded by WomaenArts with its edgy and eclectic group of women artist, musicians, burlesque performers and much more. Many of the women involved have returned year upon year to participate. However, each year, there is also a new bevy of cygnets introduced to SWAN Day by “Mama Swan” herself, Jennifer Hill.
We asked Jennifer Hill, who is a woman artist in her own right as a vocal coach, music teacher, and leader of the band, “Jennifer Hill & Co.”, a few questions about the upcoming show on March 28.
LSG: SWAN Day CT is now in its 8th year; since its inception by WomenArts globally. You have been the guiding force here in CT. Why do you still do it?
JH: I still do the show because it is my passion. I teach young girls to professional musicians daily how to perfect their craft and be confident in what they do. My show is one night where female artists shine in their own spotlight. It has become a steppingstone for up-and-coming artists and I would never want to take that away from the artistic community. If I ever become too busy or too tired, I will make sure someone takes over.
LSG: Tell us about this year’s show.
JH: This year’s show has the most artists and musicians that we’ve ever had. We have 15 female-fronted bands, five burlesque acts, an aerialist, a belly dancer/fire dancer and some of the most talented artists that I have come across in the Connecticut arts scenes.
LSG: There has been some controversy around the inclusion of burlesque performances in the show. Some have said it’s demeaning to women. What do you have to say about that?
JH: All I can say about that is our show has been fighting with that stigma since its inception. There will always be someone who doesn’t like something about our show. We cannot appease everyone, but we can let everyone know that our show does not censor and we are open to all forms of artistic expression. I personally believe that it is liberating to be a burlesque performer, especially in such body-positive times. The burlesque women that I deal with have performed all over the United States and are known as being some of the top of their craft. This is what makes them happy. This is their choice and they are extremely talented at what they do. The female body is beautiful and should be celebrated not shamed.
LSG: In your mind, what is the most unusual act this year?
JH: I don’t really think of any of them as unusual, but I have no idea what is in store with the burlesque acts. We could have some tame performances or we could have some very wild ones!
LSG: In 5 words, why should anyone attend SWAN Day CT this year?
JH: Music. Art. Burlesque. Drinks. Fun.
And it is indeed all of those words and more! I am proud to say that I am a 5th year SWAN and official photographer. Local Band Review has been a proud sponsor for many more years.
On a personal note, I’d also like to add something about burlesque. I’ve been following burlesque in CT and MA for many years now. Why would a woman do that? It’s demeaning, right? Not. At. All. The women who perform are people that I respect tremendously. In most cases they are college-educated and all very savvy. In a world where body image is STILL about the “Barbie doll”, they help to make me feel good about myself and my body. They demonstrate to me that you don’t have to have the perfect body to be sexy and beautiful. They come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors. I am proud every time I watch one of my friends perform burlesque. Is it titillating? You bet! And it should be. And Goddess bless each one of them for loving their own bodies enough to get up and perform. It takes guts. It takes confidence. If you haven’t seen burlesque, you’d be surprise at the myths the women of SWAN can dispel. xo
SWAN Day CT is March 28, 6pm – 1:00 am at Illusions Dance Club in Wolcott, CT.
For more about SWAN Day CT and ticket purchase:
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