The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Dance will participate in the National Water Dance Project April 12, with an event scheduled for 3 p.m. on the Mississippi Gulf Coast at the intersection of U.S. Highway 49 and U.S. Highway 90 at the first dock.
The 20-minute dance will feature Southern Miss students and faculty performing across the Gulf Coast as part of a simultaneous dance occurrence on more than 80 university campuses across the country. Participants of all ages and abilities are invited to perform in the dance, which is free and open to the public.
The dances will begin and end with common dance material; however, the hosting site will create the majority of each dance. The goals of the water dances include: experiencing dance to affect social change, a focus on creating a national water ethic, and building community through the arts. The event will be live-streamed so that viewers can experience the full effect of this project.
Universities, high schools, dance groups and others will be performing on waterways simultaneously in numerous locations. Almost every state will participate in the dance in order to bring awareness to the importance of waterways, as well as raise awareness of water pollution and other concerns.
Assistant professor of dance Kelly Ferris Lester will guide the participation of Southern Miss in collaboration with the Southern Miss Student Chapter of the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO).
“Southern Miss Dance chose to be part of this project as a way to build community through dance locally and nationally, bring dance to the Gulf Park Campus, and use the power of dance to bring awareness to our water ways, specifically the Gulf of Mexico,” said Ferris Lester. “The project will include the Southern Miss Student Chapter of the NDEO, dance majors, dance faculty, and members from the Southern Miss community, including students from a broad range of student organizations and dance appreciation courses. We hope to offer a dance experience to a broad audience.”
The participants are primarily non-dance majors as the aim is to build community through the experience of dance. Southern Miss will incorporate the common ritual material into its dance, as well as focus on the effects of the oil spill and the revitalization of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Southern Miss will offer practice opportunities until April 12. Student groups can also learn the choreography from an online video. The Department of Dance encourages anyone who is interested to participate.
For more information about this event, including how to participate, contact the Department of Dance at 601.266.4161 or visit http://se.nationalwaterdance.org/pages/event2014.