Recently, the word ’democracy’ has been featured prominently in the press, with calls to restore it, save it from ominous threats and expose challenges to its principles, all predicated on an assumed understanding of the concept. Many of the roots of today’s democracies reach back to the 18th century revolutions in the pre- U.S. American colonies and France, which continue to reinforce Euro-American values and ideologies of nation. The transfer of power remains a defining principle, shifting control from elites to the masses. How do the principles that inspired democratic revolutions relate to the ballot-box versions of democracy today? This article considers contemporary complexities of democracy as a concept, offering examples of how it is embodied through iconography, gestures of defiance and civil disobedience. Democratic values are explored in more formal choreography and in creative processes that establish associations with political agency.





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