News and Events

Global Water Dances Cork 2019

19 Jun 2019

Great day last Sat at Arts, Activism and the Envirnment: Conversations and Community including Global Water Dances Cork. See the programme for the event including participants etc below. 

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)


"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 2019 Event 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:

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) 
  2. Scoil Bernadette with Lisa Cliffe – Fun with water (3mins)
  3. Duet Riverdream with fragments of Seal woman story (3mins)
  4. Starling DanceTheatre - There (here and there)(5mins)
  5. Lightbulb Youth Theatre - Fake News (4-5mins)
  6. Aoife Desmond – River Action 2 (8-10mins)
  7. James Madison University Students (4mins)
  8. Maria Sinnecker’s Starling Dance Group “Water divides” (5mins)
  9. Scoil Bernadette– Parachute & Garry Joneswith help from all (open) 
  10. 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!



This project is financially supported by EUROLAB:



“Bodies of Water” (BOW) is a transdisciplinary research, performance, and advocacy network that investigates how we access, understand, and respond to water through the human body, art, culture, and public deliberation. The network comprises of artists, community organizations, and a cross-disciplinary cohort of academics and students from Ireland and the US. Together, this network seeks to build community with water and each other by exploring how this critical environmental resource exists beyond being merely subject to ownership or stewardship. Rather, BOW uses transdisciplinary research and performance to illuminate how water is us as much as it surrounds us. This approach draws heavily on somatic research and performance practices and as well as STEAM education principles. Combined, the BOW network seeks to combine these performance and education approaches to build a robust, practical toolkit that will enable community activists, educators, and policy makers to establish a practical, creative, and ultimately ecological understanding of the bodies of water that we are and that surround us.

We are all hydro-hybrids…we are all bodies of water…

Seal Woman Story by RoksanaNiewadzisz, UCC, MA in Theatre & Performative Practices.

Everyone is coming from somewhere. We all live between; between something or nothing, birth and death. We all live in translations, between one and the other, between water and land. The seal woman is a symbol of this betweenness; she is fluctuating from one state to another from one place to another, from one skin to another but is always being trapped even in this fluctuation. In some way you can’t escape, and no matter the country, no matter the language, there is always present a foreignness, otherness. Who are we? Where are we going? What are we doing?

Special thanks to: Cork Community Art Link

Lightbulb Youth Theatre

Lightbulb Youth Theatre (LYT) is based in Mallow, Cor. Cork and has been in existence for 14 years, having been established by a group of local people, with support of the Cork County Council Arts Office and Blackwater Development group. The group has been affiliated to Youth Theatre Ireland since its inception. LYT provides drama workshops to youth members, aged from 11 to 20 years. Each year the Youth Theatre produces 1 - 3 performances locally, and participates in other activities such as youth theatre exchanges and collaborations with other youth theatres both nationally and internationally. This is the second time we have taken part in Global Water Dances Cork!

Cast: Faustina O’Connell, Emer Fahey, Murine Clarke, Laura Barsczczewska

Facilitated by Fionn Woodhouse, Barry Whelan, and Sally Sheehan

Music by John Hough

Piece contains collaged content from a range of sources.  


UCC Youth Theatre

UCC Youth Theatre engages with young people from Cork City facilitating weekly theatre workshops at the Department of Theatre’s ‘Theatre Lab’ in the Connolly Complex, Western Road Cork. Youth Theatre contributes to the artistic, personal and social development of young people through their participation in theatre – UCC YT specifically aims at being an inclusive safe place of self-discovery for young people from differing socioeconomic backgrounds to learn, create and grow together. This is our first time taking part in Global Water Dances Cork!

Cast: Ava Roderick, Marta Patoka, Conor Brennan

Facilitated by Julie O’Leary, Maxine Acton-Carey, and Fionn Woodhouse

Performance piece devised by YT members.



PERFORMERS: Erica Boroshok, Griffin Day, Gemma Dobbs, Zachary A. Dorsey, Elanra J. Dulaney, Samantha Fitzgerald, Ji Kim, Patrice Ludwig, Seán McCarthy, Blake David Mitchell

Parker Shifflett, Sophie Sons, Kim Stuart, Jessie Wiggins, Jaclynn Wise

Special thanks: Tom Collins, Aileen Keogh, Francis Madigan, Cormac McCarthy, Paula Treacy


SCOIL BERNADETTE are delighted to participate in Global Water Dances 2019. Six students represent the school’s vibrant creative dance programme. Students from across the school are invited each year to participate in a creative dance project. Sessions take place on Thursday afternoons. The dance project is supported by NAPD (National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals) under the Creative Engagement scheme and Cork City Council. Lisa Cliffe is the facilitator and lead artist on this project.


School website:

Part 1: Students share some personal moments of fun on and with water.

Part 2: Parachute fun.

Dancers: Thanh Coleman, Lauren Healy, Kellie O’ Mahony, Eimer O’ Riordan, Aoife Sexton

David Sheehan

Special thanks to the dance project coordinator Sandra O’ Connor, dance artist Lisa Cliffe and school principal Don Golden.


River Action # 2 

Visual Artist Aoife Desmond (

This collective action consists of up to 12 performers in the environs of the Glucksman Gallery and grounds near the water’s edge of the River Lee. Using voice and simple movement to build a durational experience in relationship to the river and it's banks. Each performer holds a sheet of blue fabric and has her/his eyelids covered in silver leaf. The blue and silver are symbolic signifiers of water. This simple collective action is intended as a gesture of solidarity with the river. An act of solidarity to stand with the river against proposed flood walls and existing damaging processes of pollution. 

Performers: Darragh MacFiachra, Cilla Woodhouse, Carol Healy, Roslyn Steer, Macha Shewolf, Aoife Desmond


STARLING DANCE THEATRE.  Maria Sinnecker, Choreographer

Piece 1: Riverdream 

Choreographed and danced by Molly Kelly and Iona Pegler  


Piece 2: There (*here and there written together)

co-devised and performed by children of Starling Dance Theatre 

Music: Quatrieme, Hicham Chahidi


Piece 3: Water Divides Starling Dance Theatre

Co-devised and performed by Molly Kelly, Jekaterina Maskanceva, Iona Pegler, Linda Young

Work-shopped with participants of Dance Lab 2019

Choreography: Maria Sinnecker

Music: Atonement , Danijel Zambo



Water Tone Staffs designed and built by Garry Jones, The Harmonic Forge as commissioned by Bodies of Water Collective 

World premiere


Special thanks to: The Collective Cork - Freedom in movement, Department of Theatre, UCC, Dairygold Co-Op Superstores Carrigaline (props); All the Parents of Starling Dance Theatre Students; Cork Educate Together National School, The Glucksman Gallery (especially Orla and Tadgh),


GLOBAL DANCE: Maria Sinnecker, Fionn Woodhouse, Lisa Cliffe

Dancers: Lindsay Angus, Mandy Collins, Cilla Woodhouse, Roksana Niewadzisz, Leslie Burton, and dancers from all groups.


Videographer: Sam O’Keeffe

Production managers: Róisín O’Gorman; Josephine Dennehey

Recycling workshops facilitated by Emma Woodhouse


Special Thanks: Tadhg Crowley, Lucia Taeubler, Mark Flynn & Glucksman team

Michael McCormack and General Service Teams

Thank you all for coming and participating.


A Story…. The Seal Woman

Once upon a time…people used to believe that seals were former humans who, looking for relief, drowned in the ocean. Once a year however, the creatures could take off their seal skin to celebrate and dance in their human formon the shore.

Once upon a time… there was a lonely man who needed to see something before he could believe it. Therefore, he decided to spend nights hidden on the beach, waiting for the seals. Finally, one of these nights, he saw a numerous seal herd emerging from the ocean. As soon as they clambered on the shore, they shed their sealskins and left them carefully on rocks. Indeed, without the fur, they looked like humans with graceful movement and mysterious language.

One woman placed her skin next to the man’s hiding spot and joined other seal folks in an ecstatic dance. The man felt unrestrained desire to touch the sealskin. He reached for it and as soon as he grabbed the soft, moist, smelling like an ocean fur, he felt such a comfort and coziness that he fell asleep. When the first signs of dawn appeared on the horizon, the seal folks started to put on their skins. The woman desperately looked for her skin, but only when all her companions disappeared back into the sea, the man showed her his treasure. The woman cried and begged him to give her back what was hers, but he refused. She tried to retake it by force, but he was much more agile on the land. She was forced to followed him to the village, as she didn’t have any other place to go. The man hid her seal skin carefully, knowing that if he managed to keep the skin, he would keep the seal woman. She became his wife. Homeless herself, she made him home. She never stopped looking for her skin, but the man was continuously changing its hiding spot. She learned how to maintain fire and cook, and with time she gave him children. She was often telling them stories about the creatures from beneaththeseaand with a faltering voice she was singing them mysterious lullabies, something that upset their father. She was doing her best to get used to a dry land, but with each day she was withering.With time her lips became so chapped that she couldn’t kiss anymore, her throat so dry that she couldn’t sing, her eyes ran dry and her rough touch became painful. She became almost blind and deaf; she was becoming crippled. She was dying in the place where she did not belong.

One day her children came home all excited because of the treasure they found hidden between the rocks. They decided to share the secret with their mother to cheer her up. “What is it?” asked mother expecting another “magical shell” or an “abandoned albatross’ nest”. “It is moist, fluffy and smells like an ocean!”- exclaimed the girl. The woman froze for a second. Then, her heart fluttered as the children carefully walked her to the spot. When she touched and smelled her seal skin again her face revived, and her body regained its former presence. The children clung to their mother crying, as if they knew that it was their last moment together. But the touch and fragrance of the skin was comforting them as well, bringing to their minds all the stories from beneath the ocean. And they understood that she needed to go back home.

Since then people often saw the siblings playing on the beach under the watchful eye of the grey seal which was swimming near to the shore. The children cultivated the stories about creatures from beneath the sea and melodies of mysterious lullabies which they passed on for generations. People also often saw the man walking on the shore after a dusk, as if he was looking for something…


For more on this story contact:

Fionn Woodhouse

Department of Theatre

Roinn na hAmharclannaíochta

Muskerry Villas, Western Road, Cork City T12 AW97