Even though dance studios are closed and theaters are dark, dancers are continuing to take class, choreograph and move in any way they can in their own homes. Artists are resilient, and many companies are getting creative with how they’re now reaching audiences. One organization, National Water Dance Projects, usually coordinates performances around the nation on one day every other year. The performances include a phrase that is done in unison, followed by the performing company’s unique movement.
This year, three local groups — Core Dance, Burning Bones Physical Theater and DanceATL — had planned to perform in different locations around the state. Due to the spatial restrictions caused by Covid-19, National Water Dance will now be going virtual, with performances live streamed through the organization’s website and social media platforms at 4 p.m. April 18.
Sue Schroeder, the artistic director of Core Dance, says the focus of National Water Dance, which is to bring awareness to the climate crisis, is especially important during this time. “The National Water Dance brings together locations across our country in awareness through the concentration of action — using the art of dance, the expression of the human body — in direct relationship to water to activate this dialogue.”
By bonding over one essential mission, artists stay connected despite the necessary distance. Core planned to perform on the Georgia coast, but now each dancer will perform pieces titled Dancing for Our Lives from their own homes in a public performance using Zoom.
Frances Mulinix of Burning Bones Physical Theater sees National Water Dance both as an opportunity for change and a chance to recognize the things that we take for granted every day. “Artists have a unique way of engaging the public in ways that scientists or politicians cannot,” she said. “National Water Dance is making us more mindful that we dance for survival and that what we take for granted is precarious and easily lost. Near or far, we are all bound together.” Burning Bones plans to use butoh movement — Japanese dance theater — in a solo work from Sweetwater State Park.
DanceATL, which had organized its event for Paces Mill, will now stream performances on its Facebook page. Jacquelyn Pritz, the operations manager of DanceATL, sees the event as an act of activism. “Having a large number of participants nationally shows how important it is to care for our water sources and hopefully encourage legislation that considers our planet’s future,” she said. “More than ever we need to realize the planet is hurting.”
In times like these, when we are separated by necessity, ArtsATL is needed more than ever. Please consider a donation so we can continue to highlight Atlanta’s creative community during this unprecedented time.