Frequently Asked Questions
What level of dance experience is required?
All levels are welcome! The classes we teach to some of the kids are basic, and even volunteers with little dance experience are able to participate actively and even lead portions of classes by the end of the week. Our professional dancers have also taught at the National School of Dance in Panama City.
Does Movement Exchange focus on a particular dance style, or can dancers of any style participate?
We do not focus on just one style. The greater the diversity in styles, the more interesting the program is for all involved.
What types of dance classes will we take?
In addition to teaching, volunteers will be exposed to various styles of dance taught by local teachers. These styles have included Congo, Kuna, and modern dance. Once again, volunteers of all different dance backgrounds are welcome and able to participate fully.
WORKING WITH AT-RISK YOUTH
Who are the at-risk youth?
The girls at Malambo Orphanage in Arraijan, the boys at Hogar de la Infancia in Casco Viejo, and youth at Fundación San Felipe.
What is the range of ages of the kids we work with?
Approximately 4 to 18 years old Malambo, 6 to 13 years old at Hogar de la Infancia, and 5-16 years old at Fundación San Felipe. Groups with wide age ranges may be split up at the volunteers’ discretion.
What exactly will we teach the kids?
That all depends on your volunteer group’s dance background and interests. Past classes have included ballet, jazz, Chinese ribbon dance belly dancing, modern, and capoeira. The children are receptive to nearly anything you teach them, provided you make it fun and include a few games in the process.
What is the best way to prepare for teaching the kids?
Prepare choreography! Before arriving in Panama, have at least two set routines to teach: an easier one for the younger age groups and a more challenging one for the older age groups. Choose fun music with a strong beat and, if possible, bilingual lyrics. The workshops are a highly collaborative effort, so don’t worry about trying to organize an entire class by yourself.
How long is a trip with Movement Exchange?
About one week with an open call volunteer group, or as long as you want with a group you organize.
What is the cost of attending a trip?
Costs may change depending on length of stay and activities. Open call trip fees are posted on the website. Please contact us for pricing on the trip you'd like to organize.
What does the program fee cover?
Lodging, in-country transportation, and most meals for the duration of the program. Fee does not include airfare (usually between $390-1000 from the U.S.), beverages, personal snacks, or souvenirs.
Where will we stay in Panama?
The Malambo Orphanage or at motels depending on availability.
How many volunteers usually attend a trip?
Completely depends on whether it's an "open call" exchange or an exchange organized by a private group. Different sized groups can always be accommodated.
Do I have to speak Spanish to attend the trip?
No. Since movement is a language that everyone understands, communication comes fairly easily. Additionally, your guides speak both English and Spanish and serve as translators.
I’d like to organize a Movement Exchange at my university, dance company, organization etc. What should I do?
I'd love to be involved...but, I'd really like to do a similar project in Brazil. Does Movement Exchange go anywhere else?
Funny you ask! In fact, Movement Exchange is in the process of creating similar opportunities in Brazil and Colombia. Contact us if this is of interest to your group.
Do you have a sample itinerary?
Yes, here it is!