This Saturday, April 12, the Nu Delta Alpha Honor Society will be participating in National Water Dance, a project designed to raise awareness of environmental issues concerning water and pollution. The National Water Dance is a project that began in 2011 in Florida, and has since become a nationwide event. The Mercyhurst Dancers, led by faculty member Solveig Santillano, will be joining dancers across the country to raise awareness for this cause through the power of movement. All participants will start dancing at 4 o'clock EST, all beginning and ending their dances with a series of movements displayed on the project’s website to create a sense of unity. The rest of the dance is at the discretion of individual choreographers. Each participating location will identify the most significant water issue affecting their community and create awareness through dance.
Every state, county and town in the U.S. has a water issue, be it drought, overuse or pollution. One of the issues Mercyhurst wants to draw attention to is the presence of chemicals in beach waters. Mercyhurst researchers, led by Amy Parente, Ph.D., have identified several emerging contaminants at Presque Isle, including fluoxetine, triclosan, estradiol and diuron, as well as the artificial sweetener sucralose. All of these chemicals have been shown to have negative health consequences in organisms from bacteria to humans. A yearlong Mercyhurst project, Fresh Face Forward, led by associate professor Anne Zaphiris, Ph.D., of the Organizational Leadership graduate program, has drawn attention to toxins associated with personal care products that are seriously impacting the environment, especially water.
At present, the dancers are choreographing a series of three interpretative dances meant to bring attention to environmental issues, specifically as they relate to water. This project gives students a chance to use their art to generate change and contribute to a cause using their specific skills and passions. “I love projects where our students can engage their artistry with a purpose and, in this case, impact the community,” Santillano said. Along with the Dance Department, students and faculty from various programs on campus, among them public health, chemistry, sustainability studies and graphic design, are getting involved and contributing to the project. The goal is to involve as much of the student body and community as possible, so please show your support by joining us at Beach 6 on Presque Isle at 4:00 PM this Saturday! For more information on the nationwide event, visit the nationalwaterdance.com website. It is hoped that Erie’s dance performance will be featured on the website as part of a live feed.