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'One Billion Rising' Stages Flash Mob in Daley Plaza

By Darryl Holliday | February 14, 2013 12:57pm | Updated on February 14, 2013 3:53pm

THE LOOP — Hundreds of women broke out in a synchronized, "flash-mob"-style dance Thursday afternoon in Daley Plaza to raise awareness about violence against women.

Those moving to Deborah Allen's "Break the Chain" in Chicago will be just part of the worldwide phenomenon, called "One Billion Rising."

The name comes from the statistic that 1 billion women, roughly 1 in 3, will be beaten or raped within their lifetime.

"I'm here to support the concept that we're expressing," said Serena Carbonell, 37, a squash coach from the North Shore. "I'm rising because I can't imagine not rising."

Carbonell, a former dance major, said she spent three hours practicing before Thursday event.

"And Deborah Allen! — hello, 'Fame'? I grew up knowing her work. It's a name that cannot be missed in dance," she said.

Another dancer, Kayla O'Donnell, a freelance writer and actor, said she's been involved in women's rights issues for a long time and learned the choreographed dance this morning so she could join the group.

She called her involvement in the flash mob an "emotional" one.

Chicago's flash mob also included poetry by students from North Lawndale high school as well as local musician Psalm One.

The dance was scheduled for Valentine's Day to celebrate the 15th anniversary of V-Day, an advocacy group founded on Valentine's Day 1998 by activist Eve Ensler.

After the dance, the downtown rally will include a reading from award-winning poet, author and activist C.C. Carter, and a performance by Broadway star Patrice Covington, currently a "Book of Mormon" cast member.