GWD Cork 2019 – Programme

Global Water Dances

June 15, 2019


A dance and environmental event

for clean drinking water

for everyone and everywhere

here in Cork!

as well as at more than 170 locations worldwide

Global Water Dances – You are the drop!

In June 2019 people from all over the world meet “at the water”, i.e. at rivers, lakes, springs or on the coasts of the world to dance. We are with the movement choir in Cork as a part of this global movement. Rudolf Laban developed the idea of the movement choir about 100 years ago and thus created the tools, so that with direction a dance work can be made using the existing abilities of the group.

History of the origins of the Global Water Dances

Global Water Dances (GWD) is a global, integrative and cross-generational performance project that has been implemented every two years since 2011. Since its conception, global participation has grown steadily: 57 locations in 2011, 108 by 2017 and over 170 locations this year.

Following the environmental catastrophe caused by Hurricane Katrina, Marylee Hardenbergh (Minnesota, USA) choreographed dance performances with “One River Mississippi” (2006), which took place simultaneously at seven locations along that river. In 2008, a steering committee developed the concept of Global Water Dances at a Laban conference on dance and the environment at Schumacher College (UK) under the artistic direction of Hardenbergh, which initiated the first Global Water Dances in 2011. In 2016 Vannia Ibarguen took over the artistic direction.

The artistic development of the GWD performance takes place site-specifically: The”Local Part” are choreographed by the site’s choreographers and participants. Another part of each performance, contains an easily comprehensible dance score – the “Global Part”. This is danced at all locations worldwide and thus it literally moves around the globe.

For clean drinking water everywhere: GWD is an artistic initiative with the vision to draw attention to the manifold problems around “water”. The special focus is the elixir of life, drinking water. GWD is a wonderful opportunity to remind us of the power of water that moves through our lives in so many different ways.

Every day every person in Europe consumes approx. 125 litres of tap water with drinking water quality. In fact, our consumption is much higher if we include the water for the production of our consumer goods such as clothing and food. This “virtual water” makes up about 4000 liters per person and day in Europe (John A. Allan). In Europe there is usuallyno water shortage and the supply of drinking water is ensured by large plants, as long as we have enough energy to run them. The situation worldwide is quite different.

By 2025, half of the world’s population will be confronted with serious water problems. “Where vital goods become scarce, disputes over these goods begin. […] The problem concerns above all the slums of the big cities and the people living in the economically backward region of the Third World under bad social, economic and hygienic conditions…” (The Great Book of Water, Hans Otzen, Translated from German, p. 344).

Today one person dies every 15 seconds due to contaminated drinking water. In total, more people are killed every year than by all forms of violence, including wars.  On 28 July 2010, the United Nations made clean drinking water a human right. The goal of halving the proportion of people without clean drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015 was missed. Instead, many countries are behaving in the opposite way, privatizing water, lowering water standards, and packaging and selling drinking water at high prices.

Water is not a commercial product like any other but, rather, a heritage which must be protected, defended and treated as such.”(see EU Water Framework Directive of December 2000)

IMG_3411Global Water Dances, Cork, 2017 (image: Inma Pavon)

Respecting it (the water) as something sacred that we all need and therefore no one should possess it, this could be a last chance to avert the planet’s water collapse. Water consumption in the 20th century increased about twice as much as the world’s population. […]

Instead of calculating it (the water) like a money account, instead of holding it, gathering it, storing it, canalizing it, stowing it, filling it up and making it durable, haggling and speculating with it – we should rather understand it. The water crisis of our thirsty planet is the result of our inability to deal with the living (entity).

But there are other ways, and there are many examples. Bernd Müller, water engineer from Friedensdorf Tamera in Portugal, says: «Water, energy and food are available free of charge to the whole of humanity if we follow the logic of nature and no longer the laws of capital».”

(Water: commodity or being? by Leila Dregger in the magazine Zeitpunkt Nr. 155, translated from German)

The reliable supply of clean drinking water is one of the great global challenges of our time. “This year, Global Water Dances (GWD) is in line with the United Nations’ motto “Water for All” and the 6th Sustainable Development Goal, which aims to ensure the availability and sustainable use of water for all by 2030,” says Vannia Ibarguen. “In order not to leave anyone behind, we must focus our efforts on involving people who have been marginalized or ignored.”

Everyone can contribute to the respectful use of water!

Dance is a powerful channel that connects people and makes the invisible visible. We hope that we have succeeded with this performance and look forward to a lively exchange.

Facts & Figures

  • 1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services (WHO/UNICEF 2017)
  • 5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services. (WHO/UNICEF 2017)
  • 340,000 children under five die every year from diarrhea related diseases. (WHO/UNICEF 2015)
  • Water scarcity already affects four out of every 10 people. (WHO)
  • 90 % of all natural disasters are water-related. (UNISDR)
  • 80 % of wastewater flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused (UNESCO, 2017).
  • Around two-thirds of the world’s transboundary rivers do not have a cooperative management framework. (SIWI, 2015)
  • Agriculture accounts for 70 % of global water withdrawal. (FAO)
  • Roughly 75 % of all industrial water withdrawals are used for energy production. (UNESCO, 2014)

Films about water issues:

  • Tomorrow – All Over the Globe, Solutions Already Exist by Cyril Dion and MélanieLaurent
  • The Miracle Water Villageby Rintu Thomas & Sushmit Ghosh
  • Up to the Last Drop: The Secret Water War in Europe byYorgos Avgeropoulos
  • So much trash in the ocean! We can do better. Science Natur Page
  • Virtuelles Wasser – die versteckte Wasserverschwendungby Anja Henschel and Monika Eder

Global Water Dances Cork EVENTS : OVERVIEW

  • 10:30am ‘Magical Riverscape’ family art workshop ( downstairs in Riverroom in Glucksman)
  • 12:00pm Global Water Dances performance outside the Glucksman (see details below)
  • 1pm Community picnic (bring food to share) (outside weather permitting)
  • 1.15pm Launch of Oxford University Press Community Development Journal‘s special issue on “Water, Anti-Privatisation Struggles & the Commons”. Volume 54, Issue 1, January 2019

Speakers for launch include :

Introductions: Órla O’Donovan, UCC, editor of Community Development Journal.

STEAM project team from James Madison University, USA (Zachary Dorsey, Seán McCarthy, Patrice Ludwig)

Visual Artist, Aoife Desmond

Special Edition editor, Mark Garavan.

Global Water Dance – The flow… Cork 2019

Local Part: Journey through the grounds outside the Glucksman along by the River Lee…

Prologue: Opening – Seal Woman with JMU students and Garry Jones (2mins) (and the River begins…)

  1. UCC Youth Theatre (Re-cycling/sorting) (On big steps stairs – about ½ way down.) (4-5mins)
  1. Scoil Bernadette with Lisa Cliffe – Fun with water (3mins)
  1. Duet Riverdream with fragments of Seal woman story (3mins)
  1. Starling DanceTheatre – There (here and there) (5mins)
  1. Lightbulb Youth Theatre – Fake News (4-5mins)
  1. Aoife Desmond – River Action 2 (8-10mins)
  1. James Madison University Students (4mins)
  1. Maria Sinnecker’s Starling Dance Group – “Water divides” (5mins)
    1. Scoil Bernadette – Parachute & Garry Jonewith help from all (open)


      1. Global Water Dances – all groups Finale (if you’ve not been blowing bubbles – do so now….!) Dance along with 170 sites around the planet… (9mins)

Nicolás Soto Urrea– Composer of the Global Part (

Followed by picnic together and Journal launch….

Note: This event is video and photographed in order to share the work globally.  We ask your assistance is circulating this work along with the global movement. If you do not want to be in the documentation, please alert the videographer/photographer or email:

Health & Safety: Also note, this is an outdoor public event. Please be mindful of the terrain, of others walking with you and for trip or other hazards. You are responsible for your safety.

Please enjoy the event!

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