Lindsey St Onge
Ayer y Hoy.
Ayer y Hoy. (Yesterday and Today) Written 6/26/2013
Yesterday and today have been pretty much the same logistically but two different worlds mentally and emotionally.
We began both mornings by eating a quick breakfast and scurrying over to a studio where we got to work with a choreographer named Luis Alfredo while we learned a lot of different things about the modern technique of flying low. It essentially consists of feeling the floor, gathering and sending energy, being one with the earth, making the most of your space, and others’ space as well. Although it was foreign to many of us, it was amazing to all of us.
This morning was our second (and final) class with Luis and we were extremely sore (and are now even more sore as I’m writing this). He began class by telling us to partner up with each other and have one partner lay on the floor. Then he proceeded to show us how we would be massaging our partners in order to loosen them up. It was a blissful experience. It reminded me of three years ago when we worked with the choreographer Diguar Sapi and he went around and personally massaged each of our feet. So darn hospitable. And that hospitality is consistently present in so many places in this beautiful country.
Can I also, just say that the soundtrack of his class was amazing?
On both days, after the class with Luis we headed off to the University of Panama where we would be working on the piece that we perform all together on Friday at the big show. Yesterday was my APU girls’ day to lead, and I think we did a pretty good job. It is so amazing to see diverse dancers teaching choreography, learning choreography, and helping one another without letting the language barrier preventing them from doing so.
Yesterday and Today at Malambo were Hard and Wonderful in the best and worst ways.
Yesterday, we were expecting the same little angels from the day before that were attentive and sweet. And while they are very sweet (most of the time) I’m not sure attentive is an adjective I would use to describe them yesterday. It seemed as though all of the distractions of the universe had a meeting and all agreed to meet at Malambo from 4-6. When we arrived, there was leftover tea in the room from a meeting that the nuns had. So naturally, all of the girls ran in with little mouth rinsing cups, made some tea, poured about 23094823480 packets of sugar in it, and drank it. There were also other volunteers there that day that were leaving so we gave them an opportunity to say goodbye and wound up having a giant party with the kids and the other volunteers, which was obviously really cool. After they left, we tried our best to get the kids focused back in on learning the dance and they just weren’t having it. Everything else was calling their name. The other volunteers had given them temporary tattoos so of course they had to put those on and give us some as well. Then out of no where came supplies to make beaded bracelets, and then the bracelets broke and beads went everywhere, and so we all pitched in to clean up. So eventually, Madison, Alyssa, Brittany, and I made the executive decision to give up on choreography for the day and play a couple of games.
Note: Musical chairs got a little violent and we had to stop in the middle, pero Steal the Bacon went really well.
Needless to say, it was a very fun, yet extremely unproductive day.
In reaction to yesterday, today we decided to try and snake charm the children into being calm and focused. When they came into the room, instead of having Beyonce or Cheetah Girls playing on the radio for warm up, we had Gavin Degraw and Adele. When the chicas came in the four of us were sitting at the front of the room with our legs crossed and told them to do the same. We led a very slow stretch/warm up and the kids were silent and attentive. It Worked! And we were SO amazed. We kept their attention for most of the day and finished the rest of the dance and still had lots of time left over to play. While productively today was amazing, emotionally the girls and I were a wreck. In the beginning of class, one of the girls’ that is around 6 years old named Milagros who had grown particularly attached to Brittany, said to her “Tu vas a ser mi madrina” which basically means “You’re going to be my Godmother.” With conflicting emotions of shock, flattery, and heartache, Brittany replied “te amo chica,” and that was that. It was a difficult thing for all of us to hear. Later on in the day Monica and I (my 17 year friend from the last trip) were playing around and she said to me “Como se dice mejor amigas en ingles?” and I replied “mejor amigas= best friends in English” and she said to me in English “You are my best friend.” I’m still processing what all of this means, but it was a very overwhelming ride home.
Everyday after we all get back from our respective orphanages, the twelve of us sit around in a circle and have a reflective period where we share the good and bad in our day. It is one of my favorite times in the day. We have such a wide variety of dancers in our group from all different backgrounds, and all different ages. There is so much wisdom and so much love that is present in this group, and for that I am grateful.
We are nearing the show on Friday and there is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of love to be shared. Thank you to all who have been praying for us and thinking about us and the kids during this trip.
“When I dance, I don’t want to make the audience feel happy, I just want them to feel something.” -Carina
Chelsey y yo.
Cheetah Girls in Panama.