Tangoing with Tornadoes uses poetry, music, singing and interpretive dance to educate and inform about physical, sexual, spiritual, emotional and verbal abuse.
It's important that people know that domestic violence can affect your emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health. It also puts you at increased risk of developing disease and unhealthy eating habits, abusing drugs and alcohol and contemplating suicide. Your children are also affected by this and might repeat these patterns.
Yet some women, particularly women of color, don’t always hear the DV message because they don’t believe it’s their issue. So, this multicultural women’s empowerment project attempts to disrupt the conspiracy of silence in a way that is creative, entertaining, educational and, at times, inspires all - men, women and teenagers - to laugh out loud.
Audience members describe the play as “powerful,” “brilliantly rhythmical,” “simply breathtaking” and “a funny, saddening, angering and empowering journey.”
This empowerment project includes:
Educational workshops that teach women the signs of abuse and how to heal from it, through poetry, theater, art and other creative outlets.
Speeches/spoken word presentations at middle and high schools, colleges, community centers, churches, shelters; any type of gatherings for girls and women.
Tangoing With Tornadoes:
The DV Play
... because LOVE can be DRAMA!
Renee dedicates this project to all the silent shoulders who have watched the self-esteem of women get trampled like pebbles under someone’s feet. You wonder what to say, how to act, what to do as we endure physical, sexual and emotional violence from partners who claim to love us, which gives us hope, but seek to dominate us, which makes us confused, all the while trying to convince us that our pain does not exist, which makes us feel like we are tangoing with tornadoes.
The play was funny and moving and powerful ... In addition to being a natural storyteller, obviously. I could listen to you all day. You were blessed with wonderful music, too, and I especially noted the excellent movement. I had a great time, and clearly so did the rest of the audience – I sat in the balcony so I could l watch everybody, and it was gratifying to see how absorbed people were by the women’s stories.
~ Mead Hunter, former Education Director, Portland Center Stage, Portland, OR
Renee wrote Tangoing with Tornadoes first as a book of poetry, which progressed into a CD of my poetry put to music and then a play about domestic violence which she produced for several years to sold-out audiences. The script serves as a witness to everyone's story, no matter the gender, race, religion, language, socio-economic status or sexual identity.
This is an interview where Renee explains her motivation for writing this play and the process it took to get it from the written word to the stage, where it has been performed in theaters across the country, and in Saipan.