Grace and Environmentalism Combine Simultaneously in the National Water Dance
Water conservation isn't a new phenomenon, but if you attend the Floridian performance of the National Water Dance at the Deering Festival of the Arts, you'll see water conservation in a brand new light.
The National Water Dance is created by Dale Andree, the event's artistic director. With the help of producer Daniel Lewis, Andree imbued the event with history, artistry and, of course, water conservation awareness.
"This kind of project, which is actually a movement choir, was started back in the early 20th century by Rudolf Laban, and I'm part of that Laban community," Andree said. "I was inspired by a woman named Marylee Hardenbergh, who has made these all over the world, but she created one along the Mississippi River. The idea of creating all of these diverse populations through movement along a waterway was very impressive to me and really touched me."
In 2011, Andree created the Florida Waterways Project.
"[The project connects] the state of Florida through our waterways and connecting the arts and education programs, of which we have so many, basically through the colleges and universities," she said. "That building of community that way was so successful that we thought we would be able to do it on a national level[.]"
The National Water Dance will have, states Andree, "a lot more emphasis on water and the issues of water, and bringing that into the foreground for the performers."
"[We are] trying to find connections within the schools, environmental and ecological studies, as well as creating the performance itself," she said.
The event will include performers from surrounding universities, as well as middle, elementary, and even some pre-school performers.
"My connection is really through the colleges and universities," said Andree, who also teaches at the New World School of the Arts. "I brought in Miami-Dade College, Kendall Campus, with their dance department; South Miami Middle Community School, Arthur and Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts, and RR Moton Elementary School."
As stated, the dance will focus on water conservation, but what exactly does "water conservation" entail?
"I think there are a couple of levels," said Andree. "On the most basic level, the overarching theme for this is a water epic, [bringing to] people's awareness that water, in all its abundance, is not all that abundant everywhere. It is in peril. We need to take responsibility for it on an every-day basis so that immediately, people can adjust their way of living."
Apart from the Deering Festival of the Arts, the National Water Dance will have sites throughout Florida, including Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Daytona Beach, Tampa, Gainesville, Jacksonville and Niceville.
"For each location, we're going to have information for people about some of the issues that exist right here in South Florida, which is the intrusion of salt water into the wetlands and other issues," Andree said. "We're working with the Earth Ethics Institute at Miami-Dade College and the [Yes! for Environmental Sustainability Club] at MDC. We're going to have a lot of volunteers mingling around the audience so that, before and after the performance, they can engage with people in a very conversational way and have some materials to hand out about some of those issues."
To help jumpstart people's water conservation, the team behind the National Water Dance, in cooperation with the Earth Ethics Institute, will give out water-efficient showerheads provided by Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department, to anyone who brings in their old showerhead.