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“This experience was truly transformative for me.” Natasha Alhadeff-Jones, Choreographer, Upper New York Bay

Water Locale

Upper New York Bay

NYC Upper Bay GWD

Audience Site

Louis Valentino, Jr. Park & Pier


Upper New York Bay is fed by the waters of the Hudson River, as well as the Gowanus Canal. It is connected to Lower New York Bay by the Narrows, to Newark Bay by the Kill Van Kull, and to Long Island Sound by the East River. It provides the main passage for the waters of the Hudson River as it empties through the Narrows. It contains several islands including Governors Island, near the mouth of the East River, as well as Ellis Island, Liberty Island with the Statue of Liberty, and Robbins Reef which are supported by a large underwater reef on the New Jersey side of the harbor. The reef was historically one of the largest oyster beds in the world and provided a staple for the diet of all classes of citizens both locally and regionally until the end of the 19th century, when the beds succumbed to pollution. In recent years, it has become a popular site for recreation sailing and kayaking. The Upper Bay supports a very diverse population of marine species, allowing for recreational fishing, most commonly for striped bass and bluefish.

The Choreographers

Founded by dance educator Natasha Alhadeff-Jones, bigbangdance is an intergenerational dance company that uses interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to creatively and critically engage with ‘inside spaces, outside spaces, everyday and unexpected places’. Promoting stewardship of the spaces in which we live, work, and play, bigbangdance encourages performers and the public to ‘think globally and dance locally’ as we relate our bodies to the celestial body of the Earth.

The Music

Sound score and urban mix by Natasha Alhadeff-Jones additional music by Mystic Warriors and Marcus Wise

The Performance

Section I – We Come From Water
The movement vocabulary for this section used the stabilizing movement of theorist Rudolf Laban’s Dimensional Scale and mobilizing water-like movement of Traditional Haitian Yanvalou to honor our ancestors and reflect on the fact that, like the (surface of the) Earth, we are made mostly of water.
Section II – Water Apart
The contemporary movement of this section was used to reflect on the futility of mistreating water and not cooperating with one another. This section was made collaboratively by the dancers, aged 9 to 13.
Section III – Global Water
This section was comprised of international movement contributions, highlighting global problems and celebrations that unite us no matter where we live. It was performed all over the world.
Section IV – Water Together
The four simple gestures in this section, also performed around the world, were for the audience to join in, emphasizing the value of dance to raise awareness of local and global issues related to water. The event ended with a group wave.

Directions to Site Location

Take the F, G, or R train to 4th Avenue & 9th Street. Then take bus B61 to Van Brunt & Van Dyke Streets. Walk 2 blocks along Coffey Street, toward the water. (There is also a free IKEA water taxi from Pier 11 in Manhattan near South Street Seaport, as well as a free shuttle bus from Borough Hall or 4th Avenue & 9th Street in Brooklyn.)


Email contact

Other resources and links

Back to the list of All 2011 performances