we will dance with mountains

We will

dance with



Báyò Ákómoláfé, Ph.D.

"wisdom is what remains when we've come to the end of everything we know."

About WWDWM: Vunja!

We Will Dance with Mountains is...

a planetary gathering at edges;

a strange hospitality in the fade of white stability;

a subterranean upheaval;

a course-festival;

an expedition into the posthumanist cracks

that swirl with new response-abilities

and possibilities for becoming...

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At the edge of all things

Let me tell you a story. I'll be as slow as I can.



When my daughter Alethea was two years old – whether two or three, I cannot quite remember – she took me to the edge of the universe, a holy place, a clearing in the thick meanwhile where a shudderingly delicate tune hovered over and through all things, whispering a call to worship.

I had woken up that morning in Richmond, Virginia, electrified by an idea for a strange experiment: I was going to say “Yes!” to everything my daughter asked us to do together that day. Just for one day.

That meant saying yes to watching endless episodes of Peppa Pig; playing with her dolls and following their saccharine plastic adventures through the living room and its furniture; and, overcoming my urge to curl up into a foetal ball of revulsion at the sight of pink plasticine.

I need hardly say that this is an experiment I have attempted only once: the exoplanetary risks of making contact with the critters and contrivances that inhabit the world of a toddler are well known and widely documented. But I was not prepared for what was to come next, what the twinkle in her eye signified when I informed Her Waking Majesty of what I intended to do, and what lessons would ripple from that.

Now past her shrieks of joy, she offered her first proposal: let us go to the pool to swim for a while, she said. I promptly slipped into something comfortable, flip flops and sunshine, and we headed out, leaving behind my non-swimmer bona fides in the basket of excuses near my laptop.

On the path leading to the pool, where I expected we would make a turn toward the blue rectangle in the middle of the curated neighbourhood, she pointed toward a different path: the one leading to a lake.

I protested a little but remembered my promise. Moments later, a few feet from the lake, she insisted I take off my slippers, and wear hers in their stead. It didn’t make any sense; it didn’t have to.

At lakeside, suddenly affronted by an insurgency of senses aswirl, sounds of chirruping and cheeping and bebopping and crick-cracking and quack-quacking, we stood still. Motionless. I followed her lead for a while.

Then a sublime thought surfaced, eloquent and appropriate: I would use this moment to speak with her about her people, her grandfathers she never met, her many racial heritages, her hair, the prestige of our traditions, my desire f–


Keep quiet, Dada.

I stopped dead in my verbal-cognitive tracks. Alethea had seen it, where I had failed to acknowledge its presence. Or rather, its animated absence. Right there before us, drunken like a murmuration of starlings, hidden behind a parallax of white sight, was an edge.

The precipitous kind. The kind that dips into queer life, into the traffic of invisible critters and microbial busybodies, into the humbling testimonies of the more-than-human.

The edge was alive: there were ducks drifting along the surface of the calmness; I noticed one single ant – mandibles gripping a torn leaf – winding its way through the pheromonic highways of its insectoid imperatives, scurrying along like an impunctual white rabbit.

I swear I thought I saw the wind – or, at the very least, a lock of her hair curling its way through the spaces between one tree’s branches.

There, at that sweltering shush, that Alethean edge, the dizzying flurry of the Anthropocene comes to a stunning obstacle. An impediment that sings. A “you shall not pass.” A call to remove one’s shoes (or at least trade away their comforts to walk in the slippers of our children).

A call to worship.

And it is here I end my story, for now: at the moment an overworked father, led by his daughter, recognizes something unspeakable in the intimate distance; at the instant she beckons on him to kneel down into the dirt as she proceeds to decorate his face with mud –

a priestess of the threshold; and at the moment she insists he eat up a morsel of the filth – a sign, he imagines through his mock-mortified look at her giggling face,

that it is time he ended his experiment and went home.

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Dance with mountains

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Our Partners

We are deeply grateful to our extended family of partners and allies in the promotion and financial sustainability of this course-festival and for supporting cohorts of participants to engage as collectives in the experience.

Jia Sung

Omar AliCraig Cox

The Rooted Global Village
Dancenorth Australia
Inner Climate Academy
Nuns & Nones
HIRAYA Collective for the Blind
Bath Spa University
Joysong Collective
One Resilient Earth
Guild of Future Architects
Good Grief Network
For the Wild
The Christopher Reynolds Foundation