MARCH 28, 2016 | BY MICHAEL NEWSOM
Dance students from the University of Mississippi Department of Theatre Arts are participating in National Water Dance 2016, which draws attention to water issues such as the need for clean drinking water and rising sea levels.
The students are performing as Mississippi: The Dance Company for its “Fresh Start” concert in Meek Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. April 1 and 2 and at 2 p.m. April 3. Tickets are available at the Ole Miss Box Office.
They will then take that movement to Mud Island River Park in Memphis for a performance that’s free and open to the public, slated for 2:30-3:30 p.m. April 16.
“The students participating are amazing,” said Jennifer Mizenko, UM professor of theatre arts. “They’ve been rehearsing the movement material that will be used since the first week of February.”
UM students Cynthia Bauer, Taylor Blair Caton, Austyn Davis, Karen Anne Patti, Raymond (Ray J) Brown, LaDarius Lee, Kaleb Mitchell, Genevieve Walker and Drew Wheeler are participating in the event.
National Water Dance is a collective of dance artists and educators stretching from coast to coast, and its project focuses on the Mississippi River.
“We are creating a ‘movement choir’, a simultaneous, site-specific performance of dancers and movers of all ages and experience, to bring attention to the pressing issues of water in the United States,” the group’s mission statement says.
“National Water Dance believes that our environment is the most urgent issue of this generation and that artists need to take the lead in addressing it. As dancers, we want to use our bodies to create a community that cries out for action.”
The group says the Mississippi is often thought of as muddy but not appreciated for everything it does. The river links the nation together through its tributaries.
The group celebrates the wild areas along the river, but members also want to call attention to the threat of poisoning the river with chemicals through agricultural runoff from the farms alongside it. They also want to draw attention to the consequences of attempting to tame the river and make it go where mankind wants it to go.
The Memphis event will be streamed live on the National Water Dance website.