posted June 17, 2011

Holland Dance Performance Part of Global Water Event

Holland will be among 60 cities around the world participating in "Global Water Dance," an international event on Saturday, June 25, that will unite people and communities in building awareness of the importance of water and motivate action through movement.

The Holland performance will take place at 5 p.m. at Tunnel Park, and the public is invited to attend.  Members of the community who are interested in participating in the dance are invited to do so, although they're asked to arrive at 3 p.m. so that they can learn the dance, and to provide advance notice to the event's organizer if they can.

"It's like a 'flash mob,'" said Linda Graham, who is a professor of dance and chairperson of the department at Hope College and is the choreographer and coordinator of the Holland event.  "No prior dance experience is necessary, although participants should be prepared to get sandy and wet."

The local performance will run about half an hour, but in spanning the globe the overall event is running for 24 hours, moving across the time zones of the world.  There are sites on every continent except Antarctica, including across the U.S. and in nations ranging from Austria, to Australia, to Brazil, to Burkina Faso, to China, to Egypt, to the Netherlands, to Peru and Uganda, among others.

"We will be using dance and music to blend our local water issues with the global struggle to insure safe water for every human being," said Marylee Hardenbergh, artistic director for Global Water Dances.

Graham signed on because she felt that Holland was an ideal site for the event, given the historic and continued importance of Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa to the community.  "Holland is what it is because of water," she said.

The Holland performance will begin at 5 p.m. with introductory remarks by Kurt Dykstra, mayor of Holland, and a blessing of the water by the Rev. Jill Russell of Hope Church.

Assisting Graham as dancers are four Hope seniors:  Elena Caruthers of Des Plaines, Ill.; Jillian Conner of Finleyville, Pa.; Helen Gay of Lexington; and Michael Parmelee of Lansing.  Music is by Stephen Jenkins, a staff accompanist at Hope, and senior Paul Rice of Naperville, Ill., with additional musicians.  The Holland event is supported by a Hope College Faculty Development Grant.

Graham also singled out the county for providing the site and accommodating the event.  "I have to say thank you to Ottawa County Parks and Recreation," she said.  "They've been great."

Community members interested in arriving at 3 p.m. and participating in the event as dancers should contact Graham at graham@hope.edu or by calling (616) 395-7703.

Additional information about the local event may also be obtained via Facebook at Global Water Dances - Holland, MI, and about the international event at www.globalwaterdances.org.