Statement of Solidarity
“So, to white people who care about maintaining a habitable planet, I need you to become actively anti-racist. I need you to understand that our racial inequality crisis is intertwined with our climate crisis. If we don’t work on both, we will succeed at neither. I need you to step up. Please. Because I am exhausted.”~ Ayana Elizabeth Johnson
National Water Dance wants to step up. As an organization we thought that we had built National Water Dance on the premise of inclusivity. If that were true why is it that our participants are predominantly white?
We recognize that even as our doors have been open, they were opened to a Euro-centric shaped reality of dance and environmental justice. That’s what white privilege is. In order to reframe the structures on which we are built we need to transform.
Transformation can only come through building reciprocal relationships with the communities dis-enfranchised by structural racism, specifically the black community of these United States. Through this time of “unveiling”, generated by the Black Lives Matter movement, our goal is to listen, learn and put in place structures that are built on authentic and lasting relationships with the black community as well as Indigenous communities and those of all people of color and to recognize that the significance of the climate crisis on those communities is a manifestation of ongoing racism—climate solutions exist only if they serve all of us.
As water has the capacity to continually change its shape and transform, National Water Dance is being challenged to do the same. Our commitment is to re-shape and re-build a structure that can hold the multiplicity of traditions within dance and the visions black and all BIPOC communities have of environmental justice.
Re-building from the ground up….Reaching out….
On April 18, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. EST movers danced for their lives in this nation-wide simultaneous dance event. National Water Dance is an artist-driven collective of dancers, students, educators and community members who create simultaneous performances across the United States including Puerto Rico. Our focus on this election year is climate change. 2020 is a year to get-out-the vote and to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women that right. We are so grateful you answered our invitation to dance with us—to secure voting rights for everyone, to be accountable for our environment, to vote for action on climate change, and to bring us back into balance with this precious planet that we all call home.
A Personal Message from National Water Dance Director Dale Andree
As Director of National Water Dance, I want to recognize and thank everyone who participated in this very special year, creating community in isolation and remembering our commitment to securing a safe environment as we globally battle the Coronavirus. Your commitment, energy and imagination is an inspiration that I believe will carry us beyond this moment.
And supporting April 18 2020, our moment of collective energy, is a framework of people who work throughout the years to make this happen and along with them are the sprinters who carry the baton across the finish line. This is a project of people and I want to recognize them here.
- All of our Ambassadors across the country who support and advise Kristin and I during the entire process.
- Orange Grove Dance, our anchor company in Washington D.C.
- Kendall Simpson of Emory University who composed the wonderful score for our streaming and so generously offered it to everyone who wanted to use it.
- Elsa Roberts, who designed the social media campaign and who in 4 weeks organized everyone who participated in the live streaming – a genius!
- And close beside her was Britney Tokumoto who never lost her stride throughout the chaotic streaming.
- Juan Vargas, our computer programmer, whose contribution is beyond my knowledgeable vocabulary but whose spirit I understand very well. Juan has been the quiet force behind all things technological from the beginning.
- And finally Kristin O’Neal, who is the torch bearer of National Water Dance, ever encouraging and understanding, she moves the project forward with her grace and tenacity.
Together, with all of you we made this happen – National Water Dance 2020!
Check out the map below for where performers danced for their lives on April 18th.
NWD Projects, “National Water Dance 2020” is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, and MDC Live Arts.
NWD Projects is committed to providing disability accommodations for all of our events and performances. We believe that the arts are enhanced and enriched when all community members have the ability to participate. Please contact Dale Andree for more information or to request specific accommodations.