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Core Dance is on the island of Hawaii to participate in Global Water Dances’ international event celebrating World Ocean Day. At 6 p.m. Sunday, the troupe will livestream a conversation between Sue Schroeder, Core cofounder and artistic director, and Vannia Ibarguen, the artistic director of Global Water Dances.

The livestream will also premiere Core Dance’s Global Water Dances 2021 video — a movement performance and compilation of the troupe’s experiences on the Big Island. The video will be a chance for those connecting from home to see places that aren’t open to the public but that Core artists were able to visit. 

Global Water Dances, now in its 10th year, was created to bring awareness to the world’s water issues. Decatur’s Core Dance performed at the event, and was immersed in Hawaiian culture. 

Sue Schroeder says she hopes Core Dance can return to the island of Hawaii for future performances. (Photo by Simon Gentry)

Master hula teacher Ryan McCormack gave them dance and movement classes at the Volcano Art Center. “We did the hula classes at night, which was really inspiring and powerful,” Schroeder said.

Also, the company partnered with the Hawai’i Wildlife Fund and Hawai’i Environmental Restoration to complete restoration and cleanup work, notably a beach cleanup at Kamilo Point, considered one of the dirtiest beaches in the world. The weeklong event concluded with a gathering with Core Dance and community members at the Volcano Art Center for a dance blessing experience. 

“I’m hoping that audience members connect to the place we are at and the cause that we are here for,” Schroeder said. “By joining us online and seeing it, I hope that people will become inspired to take their own action.”

A video of the livestream dance blessing is available on Core Dance’s Facebook page

This year marks Core Dance’s fifth time participating in the alternating National Water Dance and Global Water Dances initiatives. To Schroeder, taking part is a comfortable fit for Core Dance. “Core has a really long practice of using our art-making and dance-making as a catalyst for social change,” she said. “We found our tribe, the people who were doing the work that we already do.”

According to the Global Water Dances’ website, the work involves getting artists from across the world together to “promote awareness and a behavioral shift toward solutions for water preservation and conservation through community engagement.” The event started in 2011 with 57 locations participating; this year’s iteration will include more than 180. 

For Schroeder, the highlights of the experience are the friendships she’s forming. “The relationship building that comes from being in a place like this that is so dynamic in its weather and its environment — that’s exactly what we’ve come for,” she said. 

Schroeder also said she’s having conversations about Core Dance returning to the island in the future, perhaps for the next National Water Dances event. 

“The community has been really embracing to us,” she said. “They’ve been very generous with telling us about this place where they live, and giving us cultural histories and understanding, which is a really great thing.”

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