Reflecting on our last day teaching at Aldea S.O.S. (PTY) I truly feel a sense of community has been built through dance as a universal language. Dance has always been a form of expression and beauty for me, but until this exchange did I realize how influential of a tool dance is when building relationships and sharing love.
Although it was the end of the week and we were all feeling the fatigue begin to set in, we all rallied our last bits of energy for the children of Aldea S.O.S.. Some days are calmer than others; this was not one of those days. Following a hectic class, intense heat, injuries, and mild frustration it was time for the performance. My group was very unsure of how the performance would go given the way our class went. After some encouragement from Tinna, I took a look around and thought about what the children at Aldea really needed. Did they really need a technically accurate performance? Or a well rehearsed piece with exact formations and transitions? No. They needed to feel the bond that is made between individuals when sharing the love of movement together.
Our group took the floor with gusto, and a bit of confusion, but when we began our dance in a circle we all made eye contact and shared smiles, then I knew how impactful our presence was. My fellow dance diplomats and I guided the group through a two-minute dance that’s focus was more central to those around us and what was shared between us; a passion for dance and desire for human connection. After the dance the kids were thrilled with how well they did, and what fun they had. We celebrated their success with high-fives, smiles, hugs, and dance.
Dance serves as a bridge a bridge between worlds, between cultures, between beliefs, between life situations, and brings us together as people. Once we cross this bridge and consider the other side, what it looks like, feels like, moves like, we will begin to understand how we relate and how we can serve one another. These children taught us so much proving that this was a true exchange. When we were hurt, they tended to our pains; when we were confused, they lead us in the right direction; when we moved, they taught us how they move; and when we gave, they gave us ten fold and were the epitome of love.
Panama and the children we worked with taught me about mutuality and how important mutuality is to sharing love. We give and receive throughout life. However, a balance must be maintained. We must consider the needs of others and put forth the greatest love we can share.