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Students perform dance to raise awareness to shrinking Great Salt Lake

Posted at 9:21 PM, Feb 09, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — The shrinking Great Salt Lake is facing a crisis. Local students are trying to help find a solution, through movement.

According to Rowland Hall tenth-grader Sylvia Twahirwa, using dance to raise awareness about the issues that the Great Salt Lake is dealing with.

“It gives me a lot of purpose," said Twahirwa.

One of the performers, senior Mikel Lawlor, is one of 60 students to present "Submerge", a dance performance with pieces explaining the situation of the Great Salt Lake.

“For me what resonated the most was that the Great Salt Lake evaporating is everyone’s issue," said Lawlor. "Not just a certain community, it’s all of Salt Lake."

“We have around a 15-piece show, and the show kind of navigates all the different layers that are kind of representative of the evaporating Great Salt Lake," said Lawlor. "So we have consumption, I’m choreographing a piece about capitalism."

Giving students the opportunity to learn about these issues and decide how they want to present them.

“Dehydration is a big one – kind of the after-effects of the water crisis, what would happen if it’s completely gone,” Twahirwa said. “Feelings, I think it’s very social and emotional, lot of connections and pulling apart. I’m also in a piece where we talk about the salt crystalizing and how important that process is.”

The students have been preparing for this two-hour performance since August – working with mentors to present this art.

The performances will be at the Larimer center for the performing arts Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., something that dance teacher Sophia Cutrubus is excited to finally showcase.

“It’s been incredibly rewarding. So, I’m from Utah, I grew up going to the lake,” said Sophia Cutrubus, a dance teacher at Rowland Hall. “Being able to come to Rowland Hall and teach students about this place that I love and is very close to me has been really rewarding.”

Organizations like Brolly Arts, FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake, Great Salt Lake Collaborative, Save Our Great Salt Lake and The Nature Conservancy will be tabling to help continue the dialogue.

“Bringing all of these outside resources into our community is that we are trying to set up relationships that can last for the long term between our students, their families and the community,” said Cutrubus.

The goal is to get people thinking about the bigger picture.

“One concert won’t change the evaporating Great Salt Lake," said Lawlor. "So, for us to be able to connect with our small community, the main purpose in our show is for people to get informed and kind of spread the word."