On Sunday, October 20, San Antonio will have a unique opportunity to learn the Waggle Dance, the unique, booty-shaking romp that bees perform for each other to communicate the location of nectar and pollen.
Never heard of the Waggle Dance? Most people haven’t–even though bees and other insect pollinators make one out of every three bites of our food possible. The USDA estimates that 80% of insect crop pollination is accomplished by bees. One study put the economic value of pollination services provided by bees and other wildlife worldwide at an estimated $217 billion annually.
San Antonio zumba legend and choregrapher Mauricio Garcia has been rehearsing an original performance of the Waggle Dance with select dancers for months. The show will include dance instruction as part of this year’s Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival at noon at Pearl.
“The Waggle Dance will be honey for the eyes and the ears,” said Garcia. “It’s the perfect fusion of Latin dance rhythms and the honey bee communicating a food source.”
Garcia described the special movement as fun, educational, and a way to say “thank you” to bees for their ecosystem services. Members of the audience will be invited to participate in a Soul Train-style dance line toward the end of the performance. Check out the video below to see the Waggle Dance performed by bees.
The unique communication of the Waggle Dance takes place inside the hive and was first identified by Austrian entomologist Karl von Frisch. The Viennese zoologist won the Nobel Prize in 1973 for his research on bees and their unique social interactions, communications and dance moves. Until von Frisch’s studies, the Waggle Dance was considered nothing more than a chaotic movement with no specific purpose.
“The Waggle Dance is an extremely common undertaking,” said Cecile Parrish, Urban Agriculture Coordinator for Eco Centro and Farm Manager for Garcia St. Farm in San Antonio. Parish has been keeping bees for more than 17 years and even has a diagram of the Waggle Dance tattooed on her arm. Parrish said bees use the communication method not only regarding pollen and nectar locations, but for water and during swarming, when they’re deciding on a new home.
Garcia will transform these meaningful movements of bees into an original, choreographed dance. A graduate of UTSA, he’s been choreographing and teaching dance and fitness classes for more than a decade. His style embraces the unconventional and the traditional, creating eye-catching and dynamic movements. He is also a certified personal trainer.
Don’t miss the world premiere of the Waggle Dance, Sunday, October 20, noon, at the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival at Pearl.
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