UM Dance Program Brings Awareness to Water Issues


by Joe Scott, Marketing & Communications Intern

University Of Mississippi student dancers will join dance groups across the nation to bring awareness to water issues as part of the National Water Dance 2016.

The Mississippi River Water Dance will take place on April 16 at 2:30 p.m., at the Mud Island River Park in Memphis. Students in the university’s Mississippi: The Dance Company will perform in the waters of Mud Island’s Mississippi River replica.

“[This project] has got me thinking about issues I had never considered, and I’m hopeful our water dance will have the same effect on all those that experience it,” said Jennifer Mizenko, professor of theatre arts and choreographer of the dance. “Our goal is to bring awareness about the water issues of the Mississippi and awareness that the art of dance can be used to express anything.”

The Mississippi River Water Dance will begin with a poetry reading by UM students. The dance will move along the model of the river, followed by the audience. Throughout the performance, docents will recite facts about the river and its culture. The project will be made into a documentary film to spread awareness about the issues that threaten the Mississippi River and the nation. It can also be live-streamed on the National Water Dance’s website, along with dances from across the nation.

The Mississippi River Water Dance  is funded by both the UM Theatre Department and the UM Green Fund. Mizenko proposed the project to the Green Fund during fall 2015 and was awarded funding.

“The Mississippi River Dance proposal was unexpected and blurs the boundaries of a traditional project,” said Steven Wild, a senior international studies major and Green Fund Committee member.  “However, I believe the project aligns well with the key aims of the Green Fund mission.”

The UM Green Fund provides funding for the implementation of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainability projects, programs and policies. Any UM student, faculty or staff member can propose a project.

“The River Dance helps advance the University’s dedication to sustainability in a way that prioritizes public education, regarding issues of water shortage, conservation, and pollution of local water sources.” Wild said.

The Mississippi River Water Dance is free and open to the public. Transportation from Oxford to Mud Island River Park is available. The van will leave at 12:30 p.m. on April 16, and the cost to ride is $2, a fee that will be donated to the UM Green Fund. Register online for a spot on the shuttle.

To learn more about the event, visit

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