Environment is central theme of National Water Dance event

Environment is central theme of National Water Dance event

Students practice forNational Water Dance, which will take place on Apr. 12.

Some 80 dancers and 45 singers will perform at 4 p.m. on Apr. 12 as a way to bring attention to the environment and the fragility of our waterways. The event, called National Water Dance, will take place at Deering Estate at Cutler, 16701 SW 72 Ave. in Palmetto Bay.

Dancers and singers in 30 states will perform at the same time and can be seen collectively on a website.

“My desire in creating National Water Dance was to inspire young artists to go beyond the studio and the stage with their art; to connect with the environment and realize the power of art to bring awareness to environmental issues, particularly water,” said Dale Andree, the founder and artistic director of National Water Dance. Andree, an instructor at the New World School of the Arts and the founding member of Miami Dance Umbrella, has her own company, Mary Street Dance Theater.

Andree conceived the idea for the environmental performance after participating in a Florida Waterways Dance Project in 2011.

“We had eight sites,” she said. “The whole idea of this is building more community and to encourage young artists to have a social awareness.”

She realized with the Internet, she could take the concept national.

“It made it so much larger than the initial idea,” Andree said, adding that planning took two years.

Initially she had hoped to involve all 50 states.

“It’s really interesting. Expectations are different than reality,” she said.

As they signed up more and more schools, they realized it would be very difficult to get all 50 states. She is pleased that each site has a number of educational institutions participating.

In Miami, that community will include students from third grade to college. The singers are from the New World School of the Arts while the dancers are from New World, South Miami Community Middle School, Arthur and Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts, RR Moton Elementary and Miami Dade College. The Miami Dade dancers are under the direction of Michelle Grant-Murray, assistant director of the Miami-Dade National Water Dance.

They will perform to original music created by Vicki Richards and Jeff Deen, both Miami musicians.

Also participating are dancers from as far away as Alaska and Maine. Each site has dancers from colleges, universities, elementary, middle and high schools and private schools. In all, 90 institutions are involved.

“Across the country, we will all be dancing at the same time,” Andree said. “Many people submitted clips of short dances. We pulled out movements and created a sentence of movements. We put that together and that’s how the whole dance begins, with all of these movements together all over the country.”

Andree is grateful for how the community has come together to make the event a success.

“So much of it has been volunteer effort,” she said. “The teachers have taken this on as an extra project. The enthusiasm of the people involved is really palatable.”

Although the Deering Estate is hosting the Festival of the Arts that day, they will open the gates at 3:30 p.m. and allow National Water Dance attendees for free. There will be a procession that will start prior to the performance at 4 p.m. Free water efficient showerheads will be given to anyone who brings in an old showerhead.

For more information, go to www.nationalwaterdance.org.

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