With the help of girls ages 7 to 12, creative dance instructor Claire Tallon Ruen spread the word about the importance and scarcity of water around the world at the launch of “LakeDance” at South Boulevard Beach on June 29. In preparation for the dance, Ms. Ruen taught the eight girls from Dawes, Oakton, King Lab and Washington schools about the ecosystem of the Great Lakes by having them observe organisms in local beaches, perform e.coli tests, take pictures and record everything in journals.
The LakeDance opened with Robert Lamont reading a story of a prince and princess who brought water and sand together. Through dance and song, the girls told a story of how vital water conservation is and how one day countries less abundant in water will need the resources of those countries closer to great bodies of water, such as the United States. The girls also sang about how fortunate they are to go to school and have running water, unlike an estimated five million girls around the world who are unable to attend school because they must travel a long distance to get water for their families.
The songs performed by the girls were composed by Meg Anderson and Jeremy Cox. Ms. Anderson led the singing while Mr. Cox played the drums. Copies of their CD were sold to raise funds to be donated to the Lutheran World Relief for a well in Kenya.
Reading “Great Lakes Water Wars” while getting her master’s degree in dance inspired Ms. Ruen to teach about the environment through dance. She started last year by volunteering at District 65 schools teaching second-, third- and fifth-graders about Asian carp, an invasive species of fish that threatens the Great Lakes. She also assisted the students in writing letters to President Barack Obama on the subject.