The Dance of Tina Turner

“I dreamed of being the first black female rock’n’roll singer to fill stadiums like the Stones!” recalls Tina Turner. And her dream came true.

Tina Turner, Norway in 1985. photo: Helge Øverås/Wikimedia CC4.0.

Tina Turner gave her last concert on stage in London on May 5, 2009, after 89 performances in 46 cities in front of more than a million fans. It was the end of a unique, 50-year stage career. On May 23 of this year, the great rock singer died in Zurich at the age of 83.

In 1981, Tina Turner first revealed to People magazine the severe abuse she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband, the musician Ike Turner. The cinema adaptations of her life in 1993 and 2021 also document the violence and rape to which the singer was subjected. It was only after 14 years of studying Buddhist teachings that she was able to free herself from those brutal clutches. In an interview at her Zürich villa, she said that she suffered a life of violence and did not stop dreaming of the perpetrator, but at the same time she did not want to be cemented to this suffering.

The amplifiers, the walls of loudspeakers and the spotlights made it possible to focus the will of 50,000 people on the throat of Tina Turner, who is barely 1.60 meters tall. Her cry of liberation for love and freedom became the call of everyone in the stadium circuit. That is the magic of rock music. With Tina Turner, her cry is even greater: according to a 2019 study by the umbrella organization of Swiss women’s shelters, 43 percent of all women in Switzerland, which seems so peaceful, have experienced domestic violence and know bodily the cycle of humiliation, violence and apologetic promises. 43 percent, that is, nearly every other female. Song, dance and laughter defies personal experience of violence. Tina Turner’s dancing and singing remind us of this.

Image (thumbnail) Tina Turner in Birmingham in 2009. photo: Philip Spittle CC 2.0

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