Roughly 1,500 dancers across the United States and Puerto Rico performed simultaneously on Saturday to advocate for the protection and preservation of water during the third National Water Dance.
The event was started by former New World School dance instructor Dale Andree. She wanted to expand performative possibilities for dancers and found that site-specific performances created an opportunity to make a statement.
"As dancers, our voice is in our bodies. I think once you start to become aware of your environment you care more about it and then you start to become more involved with it," said Andree.
Andree initially launched a state-wide performance to bring attention to the threatened water of Florida. The event was such a success she decided to take it national. The NWD has happened every other year since 2014.
This year saw the biggest number of participating states, 38 and Puerto Rico. The dances in each state all begin and end with the same choreography.
Previous South Florida NWD performances have taken place on land near bodies of water. This year, participating dancers performed in the water on a sandbar off of Key Biscayne.
It was the first time dancer Stephanie Sanchez, of the Jubilation Dance Ensemble from the Miami Dade College's Kendall campus, performed in water.
"I have always connected with water, so to be able to do this and actually dance with water I thought it was an amazing feeling," Sanchez said.
NWD has partnered with environmental advocacy groups to spread the message of water protection.
Rev. Houston Cypress of the Miccosukee Tribe Otter Family is a member of Love The Everglades, a group that advocates improving the water quality of the Everglades. He thanked the water and blessed it before the performance began.
"Humans are part of a greater ecology of life, and so we have a great responsibility to do what we can to make sure that this beautiful circle of life continues. We have a lot of skills and talents as people to be able to do that. The arts are a great way to express the responsibility we have to our environment," said Cypress.
More pictures and videos of this year's NWD can be found on the organization's website. Planning for the 2020 performances are already underway.