Rain Dance

In the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, some have shown that dance can be cathartic, even for a few seconds, writes Danielle Georgiou in her Sixth Position column.

published Wednesday, August 30, 2017



Dallas — Amid the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, we are all trying to do what we can to help our neighbors down south. But some residents of Houston and the surrounding areas are finding moments of levity in the freedom of movement. Yes, I’m talking about a rain dance. And no, this is not a joke. It’s exactly what we would need to do if we were told we couldn’t leave our homes, or were trapped in a situation completely out of our control. We would search for something, anything, to bring a smile to our family and friends’ faces and to lift our souls out of darkness. 

It all started with Deandre Wilson, a teenager in Austin, who took the street outside of his house to dance up a storm of his own (see video below). Through the growing pools of water on the street, Wilson performed a series of twists and turns that mimicked the movement of the strong winds that howled louder than his music. While Wilson was not in any immediate danger from Harvey, his environmental improvisation, which was posted on Twitter by his cousin, inspired others to create their own “rain dances.”

In Houston, a man jumped and slid through rising water that hit well above his shins. Another performed b-boys moves that flung the water in circles above his flying feet. A woman shared a video of her family dancing inside their house as a way to entertain each other while they waited to be rescued. More and more videos were posted in response to Wilson’s—1,581 as of yesterdaywith the original post receiving 115,000 retweets and 205,000 likes.

What does this show us? That dance can be both the de facto celebration of life and an act of defiance. It is an expression of unbridled energy and passion; an expression of un-granted freedom. There is no authority to say, “Now, now you may dance.” Instead, you are saying, “I will dance. You can’t stop me. Nothing can stop me. I will recover, I will rebuild. I will overcome.” And there were some who commented in protest, as though the dancers should all work, too busy to dance. But I submit that catharsis should be prescribed in moments of anxiety, when it looked like anything could have happened. Working to rid the soul of fear, so that rebuilding can start.

It is this emotion that I hope you can all support. Send morale. Send money, and seriously, please send money. But also, send morale. Find a shelter and bring your heart. Seek ways to volunteer! People should not be expected to lose their homes and in some cases, their cities, only to suffer in silence. Alongside our fellow Texans, we can all make a dance of defiance against the rain!



» American Theatre magazine has compiled a list of theaters and arts organizations in Houston affected by Harvey, with links for how to help.

» Danielle Georgiou is a dance educator, critic and writer. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of DGDG (Danielle Georgiou Dance Group) and is a working dancer and performance artist. Her column Sixth Position appears on the third Friday of the month on








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Rain Dance
In the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, some have shown that dance can be cathartic, even for a few seconds, writes Danielle Georgiou in her Sixth Position column.
by Danielle Georgiou

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