Hello (from a heart-pounding, Facebook-blasting, frantically packing veteran dance diplomat from Indiana University!)
As I sit on my creaking bed in my grandmother’s house in South Florida the night before I leave for Panama…I cannot help but have a surreal feeling. I AM RETURNING TO PANAMA TOMORROW?! How did a whole year already go by?
Tomorrow marks the beginning of my third consecutive dance exchange with Movement Exchange at IU. And many thoughts and feelings are surging through me right now, but the most prevalent feelings are those of excitement and complete joy because I know another powerful experience filled with love, culture, and dance awaits me.
Here is a list of some things I am most excited for upon my return:
1. simply being in the beautiful country of Panama. This place has a certain magic. I will always remember Felipe said… “Panama es el puento del mundo, y el corazon de la universa”… I hope my Spanish isn’t completely gone!
2. seeing some of the same children/young adults I have connected with the past 2 trips…It always amazes me how they recognize me instantly after only spend several hours of dance class together in the previous exchange. It just proves what kind of an impression a short period of time can make. We may not always remember names, but one look in each others’ eyes we know we have shared something special.
3. being with my AMAZING group of fellow IU dance diplomats! It’s so great to return to Panama with a lot of other veteran members…including Allison who introduced me to Movement Exchange 4 years ago, Kimberly who is our fearless leader and one of my dearest friends, and Alex our awesome choreography captain and my partner in crime. Not to mention 14 MORE DANCE DIPLOMATS! This is the largest group we have had from IU, and I believe the largest exchange group since MoveEx’s creation. I am already very proud of our work in Bloomington, IN and I cannot wait to see how we flourish as a team and become close friends.
4. THE DANCING! Not only do we get to teach and share dance to the children (this year we are bringing Ghanaian Azonto, Brazilian Capoeira/Samba, Yoga, Jazz, Hip Hop, Bollywood, Ballet, maybe a little breakdancing…very diverse!) but we are surrounded by dance constantly and we will be able to absorb dance is so many ways- from the classes we will take from Panamanian dance professionals to even just walking down the street. Dance is everywhere is various forms. And the beauty of this exchange is I am able to see dance everywhere- in daily life, in the interactions of the children, in the way people move around in the streets. This trip always allows me to take my absolute passion, dance, and transcend all boundaries of techniques or studio structures. I am ready to further expand my horizons of dance, absorb the beauty, and then embody it as a dance artist. I will be performing with the Contemporary Dance Program at Indiana University in their annual concert the week after I return from Panama…meaning I get to dance with the amazing dance majors as a dance minor! I am really looking forward to absorbing what I observe and encounter in Panama and then embodying it in my dance performance. I hope I grow as a dancer and as a person and it can shine through my art.
5. being with Anna Pasternak for the third exchange! Anna has inspired me in many ways and it’s just going to be so “rad” to experience another exchange with her.
6. Lastly…I’m excited for the food! I am a foodie, so travel = food tasting in my eyes. I’m ready for lot of coconut rice, beans, fish, and of course ABUELO RUM.
My past two journeys in Panama have been life-changing (yes, cliché), but I say that with complete sincerity. My heart has continued to race this entire post, but in a good way. It is just becoming real that my favorite time of the year- Movement Exchange in Panama over winter break- is finally here!
Make sure to follow our journey and check out all our pictures, videos, and posts on our FACEBOOK
Much love, and you’ll be hearing a lot from me this week!