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Nightclub classroom 

DJ Ripley is a student of the dancefloor looking for fellow classmates. Friday offers a unique chance to participate in both a wild dance party and panel discussion on dance music and politics.

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The DJ studies you. She looks for your physical response to the music. "It's the goal for a DJ," says Larisa Mann, AKA DJ Ripley, "to also make a mental connection. At least that's what I try to do." She's been at it for 16 years and has learned a few things. The set is a narrative and the information around a song, who and how and why it came to be, feeds the story.

The DJ studies you. She contemplates and writes at about how people create space for themselves on the dance floor, especially if they are from "marginalized communities." She needs to know: "What happens in a really good dance party?"

The DJ takes her field studies and lectures (at New York University's department of media culture and communications) and as a public speaker in museums, community centres, prisons and conferences. Her theories unpack the relationship between copyright law and the pockets of people who make the music she adores. "I love the feel, the sensation, the vibration and the connotation of big bass music," says Mann.

Everywhere across the globe, heavy bass music is fused with local sounds, traditional and contemporary. The DJ studies these sounds and brings them to you but she will not stand for you to misinterpret.

"I did field research in Jamaica for a year. People were concerned with being exploited," Mann says. "It makes sense for the poor to share with each other, but for the poor to share with rich foreigners? What kind of openness is good for marginalized people?"

This Friday, before the music begins, the DJ will speak on such questions with local academics Phanuel Antwi and Ardath Whynacht, on a panel discussion titled "Dancing in the Margins: Exclusion and Capitalism in Performative Arts."

That's right, a panel discussion in a nightclub. You are the subject; your dancing is the performance. You are the experience of study. So what will you teach? What will you learn? What part of the story will tell in your movements?

DJ Ripley
w/Dreams Come True, DJ Regalia
Friday, March 15, $8, 9pm
Menz&Mollyz, 2182 Gottingen Street


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