Created by: The Repertory and Performance class and Lynn Neuman
Led by: Lynn Neuman
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Led by Lynn Neuman, an instructor in the Bower School of Music & the Arts, students in the “Repertory and Performance” class studied scientific models and principles of water flow to create a performance piece called “Monami” that addresses the disappearance of sea grass and other urgent water issues. The title is a Japanese word that means “grass waves”; but it also could be interpreted as French for “my friend,” implying a responsibility to take care of the waterways, Neuman said.
As part of a nationwide project, National Water Dances Day, the class performed “Monami” on April 12 at the downtown Fort Myers water basin at the corner of Hendry Street and Edwards Drive. Groups across the country performed simultaneously to bring attention to the fragility of water systems.
The destruction of sea grass in the Caloosahatchee River has been a hot topic in Southwest Florida, as it affects the ecological balance of the river, other marine life and water quality at local beaches.
“This is a local issue that affects not only the health of the waterways but the quality of life in Fort Myers, and can have significant impact on local tourism,” Neuman said.
Assistant Professor James Douglass of FGCU’s Division of Ecological Studies has documented the disappearance of sea grasses upriver over the last several years. “That’s worrying because the upper part of the estuary is where manatees hang out in wintertime and there should be more food for them there,” he said.
As artistic director and co-founder of Artichoke Dance Company in New York, Neuman has created other performance works focusing on ecological issues and has been leading volunteer coastal cleanup efforts since 2010.