Early in the afternoon June 15, the weather was threatening to make the event a wash out. Then an hour before the 7:00 p.m. start the sky cleared and the crowds arrived for Solstice River XVII. Choreographer Marylee Hardenbergh of Global Site Performance, assisted by Jordan Hart and Emily Gastineau, teamed with Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education to present the 17th site-specific performance at the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis.
The character of the dance and music performances at this event are secondary to the river. This single-day worldwide event involves over 2,000 dancers staging performances centered on water issues, then broadcasts them online. The dances highlight local water issues that would have to be solved to ensure safe water. The size of the Stone Arch Bridge and surroundings mean the humans will always be a tiny part compared to their magnificent surroundings.
Solstice River and Global Water Dances raise the awareness of the importance of water and encourage local communities to take action. Participatory art-making raises consciousness about environmental problems and brings people together to solve them. Participants and viewers learn about the critical role of humans in protecting water supplies. There are an estimated five million deaths per year globally from polluted water. By 2025, over half the world’s population will be facing water-related problems.