Global Water Dances

Global Water Dances

Global Water Dances Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA : Santa Fe Riverbed and arroyos
Santa fe, New Mexico, USA dances for the Sante Fe Riverbed.
Santa Fe River is one of the most endangered river in the USA.

As leaders in the indigenous contemporary dance movement
the intertribal performance group of DANCING EARTH
deepens understanding of cultural relevance
by exploring ecological themes that resonate with all being.

More than 500 professional choreographers and dancers around the world work to create awareness of the local and global water issues, and to inspire their communities to work together to find solutions. 

“We want clean water for everyone,” says Global Water Dances organizer Marylee Hardenbergh

“Global Water Dances raise the awareness of participants and observers about the importance of water, and provide a model for empowering local communities to take action. 

The event brings local environmental experts and organizations, artists and members of the community together in a process that can build ongoing collaborations.”

Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion.
Rather follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.

~ Franz Kafka

A devastating crisis

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), unsafe water causes 4.4 billion cases of diarrhea every year, resulting in 1.5 million deaths, mostly of children under five. A child dies somewhere in the world every 20 seconds from waterborne diarrhea. Overall, WHO figures show that unsafe water kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.

The Global Water Dances event

Dances are performed in approximately 60 cities around the globe, centered around water issues. The event, called Global Water Dances (www.globalwaterdances.org), begins at 5 p.m. local time in the Pacific Rim, rolling westward through the time zones. The dances are also broadcast online. Participating sites include Australia, Poland, USA, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Wales and many more! 

Global Water Dances San Juanillo, Nicoya Guanacaste, Costa Rica: Rio Rosario
San Juanillo, Nicoya Guanacaste, Costa Rica. 
Dances for Rio Rosario at Pacha Mama. 
Rio Rosario is both a water source and also a revered 
sacred body of water. A recent discovery of high arsenic 
level in the water of Guanacaste is most troubling.

Global Water Dance Cairo Egypt : The Nile
Cairo, Egypt. Dances for The Nile
The Nile is the longest river 
in the world. It flows northward 
beginning in several african countries,
coming together and then finally 
moving through Egypt and 
emptying into the Mediterranean.

“Dance is a powerful medium. 
Studies have shown that the quickest way to make people feel connected is to have them move together to the same rhythm”, 

explains Hardenbergh, who has been coordinating site-specific dances for more than 25 years. 

Her 2006 One River Mississippi project, which involved simultaneous performances in seven locations, served as the template for this international event. 

Each Global Water Dances location has its own professional choreographer who will produce a four-part site-specific performance. 

The first two parts will reflect the importance of water as seen by that local community, with movements created especially for the individual outdoor locations. 

In part three, all dancers worldwide will perform to the same 8-1/2 minute piece of music written by prominent global musicians. Each 30-60 minute event will conclude with the audience joining in during part four, performing simple movements designed to create a sense of cohesiveness. 

The activities in Global Water Dances are simple: creating bonds using time, space and rhythm. These aren’t just professionally choreographed stage performances that have been moved outdoors. People of all ages and abilities from the local communities will be participating,” explains Hardenbergh. 

Global Water Dances Beijing, China : Hai River basin
Beijing, China. Dances for the Hai River basin. 
The site is part of Dashanzi in the Chaoyang District of Beijing 
that houses a thriving artistic community

A desire to do more

Global Water Dances was organized by an international network of dance and non-verbal communication experts who attended a 2008 conference on Environmental Action in connection with Laban Bartenieff Movement Studies in England.

The five-person steering committee, which includes choreographers from Halifax, Washington DC, Minneapolis, New York City and Bremen, Germany, watched the video One River Mississippi and were moved to do something on a grander scale. 

Global Water Dance Shangai, China : Yangtze River
Shangai, China. Dances for the locale Yangtze River. 
The Yangtze River is the craddle of Chinese civilization 
and the artery that feeds Shangai prosperity

“We have two goals. One is to raise awareness about the need for clean water, the other is to use dance to create a sense of community,” says Hardenbergh, who adds that organizers have easily donated more than 10,000 hours to this project so far. 

Dancing with intention

Global Water Dances is a model of how to use participatory art to raise consciousness about environmental problems, and how to bring people together to work on solving these problems. 

Global Water Dances Taipei County, Taiwan : Danshui River
Taipei County, Taiwan. Dances for the Danshui River.
Plum Tree Creek, a branch of Danshui River, is the only fresh water 
in the ZhuWei Area but, now it has almost become a stinking gutter.

Hardenbergh explains: 
Flow, the medium of dance/movement, can connect community, just as water connects people. Communities grew up and were often defined by the water nearby. Movement also provides an embodied practice for community-building and can foster new understandings and behaviors. 

Through Global Water Dances we want to connect the local to the global community to safeguard that all humans have access to clean drinking water, so that the water flowing through us is sustaining and not harming us. 

Taking responsibility for, valuing and protecting water, can shift people easily into other ways of caring for the planet.

“We have at least three times the number of cities participating than I thought we’d have,” she concludes. 

“There is power in being part of the performance and part of this community dance. This is dancing with intention: It gives people the opportunity to connect their art – which is something they love – and with something relevant in the world. Together we are creating something wonderful by combining passion with purpose.” 

To find the Global Water Dances location closest to you, make a donation, volunteer or to join the mailing list, visit http://www.globalwaterdances.org

Please take a moment to tell me about your observations or any particular comment Global Water Dances.

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Biography: Marylee Hardenbergh CMA, BC-DMT, LICSW

Marylee Hardenbergh is Artistic Director of Global Water Dances. 
She has been an award-winning choreographer of site-specific dances for more than 25 years and has been directing Movement Choirs for more than 15 years. 

Dances have been mounted as such sites as a wastewater treatment plant in Minnesota, the bombed-out Parliament Building in Sarajevo, Bosnia and the Volga River in Russia. 

She created One River Mississippi, a dance performance simultaneously occurring at seven sites along the Mississippi River from the headwaters through St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans. 

She is Board-Certified Dance Therapist and Certified Movement Analyst; she feels grateful to have studied directly with Irmgard Bartenieff. 

She is the Artistic Director of Global Site Performance; you can see more of her work at www.GlobalSitePerformance.org

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