Hello! My name is Genevieve Brady and I am a dance diplomat from Western Michigan University. Today was such a rewarding day for me and everyone in our exchange. Another dance diplomat named Alyssa and I had the opportunity to teach at the University of Panama which was a life changing experience. I taught a sassy jazz funk combination in the second half of the class and Panamanian dancers were so receptive and full of energy. The room was so packed with dancers from both Panama and Western Michigan University that every single one of us left with a new friend. I cannot begin to explain the amount of love and energy we all had while going through groups and exploring our sassiness. We cheered and banged on the floor for each other so loud that at some points it was difficult to hear the music. I am overjoyed and thankful that I got to experience something so irreplaceable, so beautiful, so organic. I will never forget his experience for as long as I live.
Next, we bussed to the Malabo orphanage. After being there yesterday, we decided as a group to build upon the material we worked on. In the midst of teaching dance, the relationships form. A girl in the younger group made a particularly strong impact on me. In Spanish, I asked her what classes she had in school today and one of them was English. She barley knew any words but I began to teach her colors like black, red, orange, and blue with objects around us. When she walked me to our bus at the end of the day, she gave me a big hug and said “te amo mucho” which means “I love you a lot”.
It is very difficult for me to verbalize the feelings of fulfillment that these kids and experiences have brought me. These words do not do this day, or week, or trip justice. I am so looking forward to taking this new-kindled passion for dance back to life in Kalamazoo, Michigan. ¡Te amo mucho, Panamá y hasta luego!
– Genevieve Brady, WMU Dance Diplomat