Thursday, April 21, 2016

UNC Charlotte participates in National Water Dance

By Leanna Pough

Water has been an ongoing topic this year with the recent crisis in Flint, Mich., and the drought in California.
In an article published in the Charlotte Observer last January, UNC Charlotte public health professor Gary Silverman said, nationwide, bad water kills millions each year.
Silverman, who researches environmental health and water quality goes on to explain that most disease outbreaks come not from public water systems, but from private wells. Nearly 15 percent of Mecklenburg County residents rely on groundwater.
In an effort to protect and monitor well water supplies, UNC Charlotte and Gaston County recently began a five-year program funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Students participate in the campus's National Water Dance performance.
The “Healthy Wells” program will establish a public digital database of the county’s wells and promote the protection of private well water supplies. As a result, the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services will receive nearly $670,000. The project will also strengthen UNC Charlotte’s existing expertise in spatial epidemiology and will apply CyberGIS and space-time GIS, which are contemporary research themes.
In March 2015, UNC Charlotte kept watch on water in its second year of the KEEPING WATCH initiative. “KEEPING WATCH on WATER: City of Creeks” connected community partners and projects to raise awareness surrounding water quality and urban streams.
Continuing the University’s commitment to improving water quality, UNC Charlotte students from the Department of Dance, under the direction of Professor of Dance Sybil Huskey, participated in the National Water Dance, Saturday, April 16.
The National Water Dance is an annual event that builds a “movement choir” of dancers who join together to draw attention to global water issues.
The concept was first introduced by European modern dance pioneer Rudolph von Laban. A “movement choir” is a community of people dancing together for a common purpose.
During a period of several months, more than 1,000 dancers in institutions in more than 30 states shared ideas and gestures via the Internet, developing a common core movement phrase that served as the foundation of more than 80 choreographed works.
Dancers across the country performed these pieces together, joined through technology. The collective performances streamed live, via Google Hangout.
Three North Carolina institutions participated in the 2016 National Water Dance: UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro and Bradley Middle School in Huntersville.
The UNC Charlotte contribution, “Got H20? Some People Don’t” was choreographed by Huskey and the students of the “Choreography I” class.
In the work, the dancers, all female, embody both how water feels and the water itself. The lake fountain and rain sticks, played by the dancers provided the soundscape for the performance.
The National Water Dance believes our environment is the most urgent issue of this generation and that artists need to take the lead in addressing it.
Watch the UNC Charlotte Dance Department’s National Water Dance performance on youtube.

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Leanna Pough is communications coordinator in the Office of Public Relations.

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