Inspired by Water Consciousness, Dale Andree Growing Her Project in 2016
Growing her Water Dance Project to national levels was easy for Dale Andree, whose passion for young arts and the many vital waterways in Florida were her initial inspiration, and who just produced the latest Water Dance on the sands of North Beach on Jan. 24.
“You’re living in a sensibility of water and it’s so present in every aspect of life down here. It’s essential. We know from a very young age we can’t go without water,” says Andree. “I made it National Water Dance because everyday you hear about a water issue in this country. I wanted to raise awareness and shake up the American consciousness.”
She was also inspired by the idea of bringing people together in the community through movement, and also bringing an arts in education program to Florida.
When she started the first project, Andree turned to a woman who does movement choirs around the country by creating global water dances. Mary Lee Harbenberg’s “One River Mississippi” was her main inspiration. “Mary Lee’s work of movement choirs is essential. The beauty of it is to use dance to build community,” says Andree.
“We asked ourselves, how do we get young dancers to think outside the box and connect all the great institutions around Florida?” she says.
The answer was the event that debuted in 2011 as the Florida Waterway Dance Projects, taking place at eight locations throughout Florida only. Participants at the first event hailed from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Daytona Beach, Tampa, Gainesville, Jacksonville, and Niceville.
Three years later in 2014, it became the National Water Dance Project and expanded to 26 states around the U.S. with 80 institutions involved; but their main presence remained in Miami where it all started.
“It’s about building community locally and nationally through the Internet. It was very exciting to feel all that energy coming from all over the country. And it was all primarily done through arts in education programs,” she says about the 2014 event.
The goal remains the same for the years to come — to start a dialogue, bring consciousness through art and have dance performed in public. And as always, more engagement with environmental groups and from the audience “because it’s truly crucial to try to move legislation and change patterns,” she says.
In 2016 she’s going to reach more into the professional community, which should help Andree with her goal of expanding to multiple sites around Miami-Dade County. She’s hoping to go down to the Everglades and around the Bay.
She’s already been working closely with the Earth Ethics Institute at Miami-Dade College and director Colleen Ahern-Hettich, who she says “is incredibly dynamic and has connected me to a lot of faculty at Miami-Dade College” as well as with the school’s Institute of Community Engagement and Democracy.
“As of now that’s the extent of my partners in that area but they’ve been incredibly supportive. It’s very exciting to know that I’ve got new collaborators supporting me in helping me draw up more community action,” she says.
She applauds the many groups here in South Florida bringing people together for environmental causes, because “we have so much information, but we need to highlight the environment we live in and maybe that will move us to change,” she says.
Read more about the National Water Dance Project here.