Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dancing for Climate Change

UPDATE: The group of singers and dancers from Kiribati came to the Aquarium during their visit to the Boston area. What they had to say stopped the penguins in their tracks. 

"Seeing the penguins swim to the rocks to watch and listen to the singers was one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen--certainly at the Aquarium," says one onlooker. 

Continue reading below to see what brought this special group of artists to New England. 

As one of the leading forces behind the creation of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in partnership with Kiribati, the New England Aquarium has long recognized the tiny atoll nations of the Pacific as bellwethers for global climate change. The remote and far-flung islands of countries like Kiribati, Tokelau and Tuvalu are on the front lines of climate change, experiencing such climate change symptoms as coral bleaching events and rising ocean levels. The people who live on these vulnerable atolls also risk becoming the first cultures on Earth to be submerged by rising sea levels.


For hundreds of years, the islands’ history, spiritual teachings and social values were danced and sung rather than written. Now, as their fragile way of life is threatened, the 36 dancers and musicians of Water is Rising create an elegant, sensual and exuberant performance that expresses their deep connections to nature and the legacy of their traditions as well as their feelings about global climate change. Their shared spirit and intense energy represent the joyful vitality of their collective ethos.


Water is Rising performed on Saturday, November 19, at 8 p.m. at the Sanders Theatre in Cambridge. The performance was a wild success and the singers and dancers from Water is Rising later found time to visit the Aquarium during their stay in the Boston area. During their tour they serenaded the penguins, that were unusually quiet during this impromptu performance. Here's a taste of that beautiful moment right here at the Aquarium.

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