Growing up I have lived an incredibly privileged life. I have been given amazing opportunities, received endless support, and have been constantly surrounded by family and friends who love me. While I am very thankful for the life I have lived, I could not help but question on this trip why I have been so lucky. I cannot even count the number of wonderful people I have met here that deserve so much more than what they have been given. I am eternally grateful that Movement Exchange has given me the chance to not only make connections with so many new people, but to have so many lives touch my heart and fill it with a raw and delightful joy. There have been so many special moments and people that it’s hard to encapsulate them all into one single blog post, so I’m only going to shed light on a few of the brightest.

Uno. Teaching my very first class to the girls of Malambo. I was a little nervous at first to take charge, but as soon as I saw their bright eyes and beautiful faces all my worry washed away. I knew instantly that all I wanted to do was give them a class that would make their day brighter, and with my fellow group members by my side  we did just that. It was incredible to see their passion for movement and I fed off of their energy to keep the class fun, focused, and full of positive energy.

Dos. Meeting my favorite little amigo at Aldea SOS. I spent two classes with this little boy and felt our connection was the strongest one I had made the entire trip. During the first class he was very melancholy and non participatory, so I first made it my mission to make him smile. Once that goal was achieved he was attached by my side for the rest of the day and our interactions were effortless. Although we couldn’t communicate with many words, the little nugget stole my heart and I am so glad to have spent our small amount of time together. I wish nothing but the best life for my little amigo and pray he is given a family that loves him endlessly.

Tres. Alessandro and Dilan.
These two were the definition of selfless and compassionate. Alessandro’s passion for giving the kids at his studio dance education was exhilarating, and he was just simply the kindest man to have little quirky interactions with. He acted as a father figure to all of his students as well as our group for our two days together. Dilan will always hold a very special place in my heart because of his genuine nature and silliness. While he is only 12, he already has comprehended a level of sincerity and maturity that is very rare for boys his age. He is going to do so many amazing things and I cannot wait to visit and see how much more wonderful he becomes. Both of their souls are so exquisite and unique and I am honored to have become their friend.

This experience has not only given me a new outlook on the complexity of dance, but shown me the true power of love. Love is the tears that ran down Alessandro’s face as he said goodbye knowing we will all most likely never meet again, the singing of ‘Work’ and ‘Hotline Bling’ with Dilan completely out of tune, and the long and bumpy bus rides filled with snacks, games, and belly aching laughter. Most importantly love is the moments I have shared with all of these beautiful people that I will always keep in my heart. The power of love is unique, fearless, and fully encompassed in Movement Exchange.

Love Always,
Alyssa Smith

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  • Beautiful reflection Alyssa! My favorite part: “This experience has not only given me a new outlook on the complexity of dance, but shown me the true power of love. Love is the tears that ran down Alessandro’s face as he said goodbye knowing we will all most likely never meet again, the singing of ‘Work’ and ‘Hotline Bling’ with Dilan completely out of tune, and the long and bumpy bus rides filled with snacks, games, and belly aching laughter. Most importantly love is the moments I have shared with all of these beautiful people that I will always keep in my heart. The power of love is unique, fearless, and fully encompassed in Movement Exchange.”

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