June 16, 2017

This is the first year that Global Water Dances will be performed in Arizona. I first heard of Global Water Dances five years ago when I was living in Connecticut. I was in the middle of a certification program in movement analysis. Part of my training included using movement and dance as a tool to build communities and social cohesion. Global Water Dances was first developed by a group of Laban Movement Analysis students who began using these tools as a way to build a worldwide community around the issues of clean and safe water.

As a student I found it to be an intriguing idea. Most of my life I have lived in areas of the country where water seemed abundantly available. Then I moved with my husband and children to Arizona. The desert can be a desolate place, but beautiful in its wildness and ferocity. I began to notice how aware I was becoming of water in my environment, including the lack of water. Fountains and lakes seemed to be symbols of wealth and affluence. I began learning about drip systems and irrigation schedules. I began to notice the system of canals that delivers a web-like network of life giving water supply to the Phoenix area. The more I learned about desert life, the more I realized how I had taken water for granted in the past. Here in the desert, it is a scarce resource. I remembered Global Water Dances, and how what had seemed to be merely an interesting idea, now is a part of my reality. I decided that I wanted to be a part of Global Water Dances, and use dance in our community to connect to the larger conversation about water happening around the world.

The site of Global Water Dances in Arizona is at the Soleri Bridge and Plaza in Scottsdale (4420 N. Scottsdale Rd.). Paolo Soleri designed the Soleri Bridge. He designed it to mark solar events with the shadow of the pylons situated at one end of the bridge. The bridge itself stretches over the Arizona Canal. The Arizona canal is part of the canal system begun by the Hohokam people hundreds of years ago. This location is symbolic of the relationships between past and present, man and nature, and the sun and water.

On June 24 at 7 pm, joining over 90 cities around the world, dance will become a vehicle for the discussion around water conservation in Arizona. The dance consists of four parts; the first two sections choreographed locally, the third performed at each location around the world, and the fourth inviting the audience to join the dance and the conversation about the water supply in Arizona. SRP and Scottsdale Water will partner with Global Water Dances to raise awareness about conserving our most precious natural resource, water.

From time to time, Water – Use It Wisely features guest bloggers who write about topics related to water and water conservation. The author of this blog, Marie Chamberlain, is a dance artist and educator who trained at Brigham Young University, New York University, and the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. She moved to Arizona four years ago, and became fascinated with the desert ecosystem. She lives in Mesa with her husband and four children.

Marie is also the co-choreographer of Global Water Dances in Scottsdale, along with Alisha Rose. Alisha earned an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree in modern dance, special physical education and early childhood education from the University of Utah in 1996. She has studied Feldenkrais Movement Awareness, Anusara Yoga, and Kinesiological Stretching. Alisha is passionate about health and runs an in home pilates studio in Gilbert, Arizona. She loves to travel with her husband and three teenage children.