Photo by Michelle Smith-Lewis
Photo by Michelle Smith-Lewis. Karin Stevens Dance, Seattle, WA

Event History

National Water Dance is a catalyst that encourages ongoing engagement between dance and the environment. Beginning in 2011 as a statewide project in Florida, it now boasts 65 locations across the United States—in 2018 including Puerto Rico for the first time. With each event National Water Dance recommits itself to the effort of increasing purposeful awareness to drive action on environmental issues, specifically climate change. Supporting the work of participants beyond our biannual event, National Water Dance spreads the word on the environmental issues they are tackling through monthly newsletters and social media. Our goal is to realize the power of dance as an engine of social change.



2018 National Water Dance

In 2018 National Water Dance expanded to include 32 states and Puerto Rico. Our addition of Puerto Rico was particularly gratifying considering the environmental tragedy they continued to cope with from the devastation of hurricane Maria. We also partnered for the first time with Rami Shafi and Pedestrian Wanderlust. Pedestrian Wanderlust is a movement of improvised dance in public spaces. Together, we created spontaneous dance videos at water sites in Madison, Wisconsin, Miami, Florida and multiple locations in Puerto Rico. leading up to the event on April 14, 2018. Both organizations, along with Dance Magazine, posted the video collaborations on their websites and Instagram. Poetry workshops expanded in Florida and Hawaii with students creating a poetry exchange between the two states.


2016 National Water Dance

Our 2nd bi-annual celebration of water through the artistry of dance brought together 26 states and over 100 institutions from professionals to preschoolers. Dancers, musicians, poets, and visual artists around the US joined in a simultaneous performance on April 16. Dancing in Los Angeles fountains, on the Salt Flats of Utah, and in streams in Iowa and Vermont, dancers performed choreography unique to their location with common phrases they created and shared with each other. National Water Dance creates a bridge to the environment through dance performance, connecting us across the United States to protect our waters.


2014 National Water Dance

The 1st official National Water Dance brought together 1200 dancers, 80 institutions, and 26 states—all streamed simultaneously from each location. Dancers across the country began their performance by lakes, bays, oceans, and rivers; on bridges, next to streams, in fountains; and, due to lightning, even in a studio with glasses of water carefully placed around for dipping hands. They were elementary school students, middle school, high school, college and university dancers as well as students from private studios and professional dancers. Sharing phrases of movement created a sense of community with each performance, but it was the unique environment of each location and group of dancers that defined our inaugural event.


2011 Florida Waterways Dance

The precursor to National Water Dance, the Florida Waterdays Dance Project was launched by the New World School of the Arts in downtown Miami, Florida. This collaborative initiative united arts institutions throughout the state in simultaneous site-specific performances inspired by Florida’s unique waterways. From Miami to the Panhandle and from Tampa to Jacksonville, dancers, musicians, and visual artists from 23 arts schools and dance companies joined together at 8 separate locations to bring attention to the power and fragility of Florida’s waterways.