Bates College is a small liberal arts school located in Lewiston, Maine. We are located close to Poland, Maine where Poland Springs Water Company is based. Because part of our local economy is based on water bottling, we looked into its effects on the environment. Poland Springs’ bottling plants have been the source of great controversy around what constitutes sustainable management of this natural resource, who should gain economic benefits from sales, and how citizens can assert their rights to the natural resources in their communities.
In addition to these local issues, the recent explosion of the bottled water industry brings up fears of possible depletion of aquifers and creates environmental impact through transporting water in plastic bottles hundreds of miles across the country. We were surprised to find that bottled water is less regulated than tap water in certain states.
Two Bates Dancers, with the guidance of a Bates Dance professor, are excited to making a dance about bottled water as part of the National Water Dance. We hope to raise questions about bottling and transporting water that resonate on a local, national and international scale. We will perform the dance at Range Pond State Park, a beautiful spot located very near to Poland, Maine. Though this body of water is not being bottled, we feel that the beauty of the location makes it an inspiring space in which to perform, and one that will remind us of the vitality of this resource we are trying to protect.
We are also excited about the process of combining an environmental narrative with movement. We collected water bottles discarded by the Bates community during one week and using them as part of our set to make the issue of water consumption tangible and personally relevant to the audience.