‘Tap Water for Flint’ showcases dance groups in support of Flint

Sunday, April 10, 2016 - 5:44pm

As efforts to aid Flint residents after the city’s water crisis continue statewide, University of Michigan students are banding together to raise funds by showcasing the work of dance groups within the Southeastern Michigan community while also drawing attention to Flint. The event, a show called “Tap Water for Flint,” on Saturday will also host various yoga, zumba and fitness classes leading up to the dance performance.

“After hearing about everything that was going on with the Flint water crisis, I was kind of shocked to hear that there was nothing that was really being done throughout Michigan, let alone on Michigan’s campus,” said University alum Meredith Njus, one of the organizers of the event, said.

Performers include groups from Ann Arbor, Detroit and Flint, including Flint’s Tapology Youth Ensemble, as well as the University’s own RhythM Tap Ensemble, Groove and UM Slam Poetry.

“We want to kind of build an alliance, a relationship between our communities and a sense that we belong to each other,” said Christine Convery, School of Public Health graduate student. “And hopefully … support the efforts there to treat the effects of the Flint water crisis, but also the causes of it, the underlying poverty that’s really endemic to that area.”

The event intends to unite Southeastern Michigan communities, as well as students on campus, in efforts to continue aiding the Flint community beyond initial relief efforts of sending water, and to uplift the image of Flint in the media, Dan Bator said.

“There’s a lot of bad imagery associated with the Flint water crisis now, and so the reputation of Flint is kind of up to be decided by people looking in on the state,” Bator said. “We wanted to shine more light on the resiliency and the joy that is going on and the passion people have for their town and for their region.”

By highlighting performers within the Flint region, “Tap Water for Flint” intends to bring the community to the stage by allowing them to represent themselves, to uplift the outlook for the city and to unite the efforts of various groups.

“I think it’s a reminder to both our campus community and to the local communities just saying, ‘we’re all still here for Flint,’” Njus said. “It’s important to know that we keep supporting Flint.”

“Tap Water for Flint” organizers said they have received great support from the performers as well as from local Ann Arbor businesses that are volunteering their efforts for the event. Proceeds will go to the Flint Child Health and Development Fund, in efforts to aid neurological and developmental issues that may occur down the line in Flint children.

“All these Michigan groups are showing their love for movement and their passion for the community of Flint,” Bator said. “The crisis will come and go, but the love and support for the community is something that we hope to continue to share.”