I am still feeling so blessed by our experience at Global Water Dances a few weeks ago under the beautiful sun surrounded by so many beautiful people. Five Intimations dancers spent the day at the foundation ruin of the Old Manse inside the Minuteman National Park in Concord, MA dancing for water in front of a gracious audience alongside CreationDance and Skyloom, our hosts, culminating with a procession to the bridge over the Concord River.
What is Global Water Dances?
From the GWD website: Global Water Dances is a world event first launched in June 2011. On a single day, a series of dances centered on water issues are performed beginning in the Western Pacific Rim, then encircling the globe. These dances are also broadcast online. Global Water Dances will start with performances in countries in the Pacific Rim, rolling westward through the time zones. Global Water Dances is a bold visionary artistic initiative focused on the critical need for safe drinking water. Already today, there are an estimated 5 million deaths per year globally from polluted water. By 2025, over half the world's population will be facing water-related problems. (See Water Issues page for more info.) Global Water Dances is a model of how to use participatory art-making to raise consciousness about environmental problems and how to bring people together to work on solving these problems. Participants and viewers of Global Water Dances learn about the critical role of humans in protecting water supplies.
We created a new 5 minutes piece to present for Global Water Dances. I was inspired by a village I lived in South Africa for a time, Gwexintaba, and what that experience taught me about my relationship to water. The village is literally at the end of the road, no electricity or running water, nestled in hills that led out to the ocean. I was drawn to a permaculture project there in its infancy, and stayed with my partner at the time to teach a 5-week interdisciplinary arts camp, we called Magwa Environmental Education Through the Arts. Every couple of days we had to fetch water, walking through a swamp, on unstable tree trunks and planks to reach the spring. I always had taken water for granted until I lived there. Growing up, and still today, I turn a piece of metal and water pours out, like there is an endless supply. But, there is not. Much less than 1% of the water on the planet is drinkable, and we are very quickly making that resource even scarcer through pollution and waste.
During rehearsal I was reminded of that place immediately, specifically of an image of women washing clothes. We would often walk to the gorge and waterfall on the edge of the village. We'd see women washing clothes in the small pools of water at the edge of the waterfall, using the flat rocks as washboards. That is where the movement began. The piece became a reflection of that experience, and an offering of gratitude for our access to clean water, and a call to action for the audience to question their daily relationship with such a precious and limited resource on this earth.
Here is a reflection from the director of Skyloom who so graciously hosted us... "“Intimations” dance group under the direction of Jessica Muise presented a water dance inspired by Jessica’s time living in South Africa. The dancers performed in silence with strength, determination, fluidity and deep connection to the earth.". To read more about her reflection and details of the event, see her post here on the Sacred Dance Guild's website.
Here is a video and photographs from the performance. Performing dancers are Alexandra Botti, Diana Pilarski, Alyssa Rosenfeld, Kara Zabatta and Audrey Zaferos. We are looking forward to exploring more site-specific work, and participating in Global Water Dances 2014.