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  • Writer's pictureLindsey St Onge



So, We know this is a little late, but here is a recap of our past few days:Panama 2nd Generation Day 1:

And we are back in Panama.  The ride over was great,  while trying to go through customs our spanish was tested when security was curious about our 3 boxes worth of donations.  Thanks Ms. Rodriguez who came to the Spanish rescue.  Right away we were rushed to local cuisine and then back "home" the Hostel Amador! 

We met the rest of the movement exchange group...totaling 20 this year, and had about an hour to start creating choreography for our Malambo girls for tomorrow.  We got ready for dinner and walked....

and walked.....

and walked....

and still walked....

an hour and a half later....we made it to Mi Ranchita for a traditional Panamanian feast.  Fried EVERYTHING!

We feared the walk back but Anna had our van waiting for us outside.  

Now we are showered...exhausted....excited...nervous....anxious...

Day 2: Always Look Behind the Mirror

Immediately after our blog last night we had some interesting events occur!! As the girls were leaving our room Chip noticed a rather large, brown furry spider on our ceiling...we'll call him Fred.  So since Chip is the tallest and we have ceilings that are quite high Miss Rodriguez and I coorced Chip into killing the spider with a shoe...that didn't Burtee tried...that didn't work either, so the girls promptly said good bye and left Miss Rodriguez and I to fend for ourselves.  After much pomdering we decided we needed heavy artillery ... so we went to get a broom.  Once back with our weapon Miss Rodriguez too overanxious and  instead of creating a strategic plan she just went for it!  Attempting to smoosh Fred with Brissles of a that would work! Needless to say Fred disappeared and ironically my suitcase was open...right below! So for an hour we searched for Fred, with no avail! However, we did find Loyd, the cucarocha under the bed. (Miss Rodriguez is freaked out about Loyd!)  

Miss Rodriguez and I were so anxious about Fred and Loyd that we couldn't relax, so we decided to read for a bit till we got sleepy.  Within minutes Fred appeared....from behind the mirror!! (Always look behind the mirror!) With some strategic planning Miss Rodriguez and I excavated the room of actually was a slight time of mourning....what if he had a family?  What if he had friends?

8:00 am came quite fast!! We were up and ready to meet our children!  We had our traditional Panamanian breakfast, eggs, toast and flies :) On the bus by 10 and off to Casco Viejo!! We met with Lider who looked like a business man, but if you "look behind the mirror" he is a lover of arts and Panamanian culture and spent an hour sharing us the history of the city.  Then off for a walking tour of la ciudad y fundaciones that our group will be working with this week.  At noon we left for almuerzo en Malambo.  My heart was warmed as many of the subway dancers ran to me for hugs and kisses!!  The food was "bomb" and the girls and boys shared some traditional Panamanian dances with us.  

By 2 we were down in the gym to start our class.  Bob and Chip began a warm up of  the dougie, jumping jacks, runs, and slides.  Then the other teachers, Andi, Sheena, and Paula chose their performers and whisked them away to their rehearsal space.  In the gym we had 21 bailarinas pequenas.  3 new dancers joined last years subway dancers to learn the routine, the rest of the bailarinas are either too young to do the performance or will not be able to make all of the rehearsals so they worked with Burt, Lianna, and Bob.  After an hour an a half the dancers had learned 2 phrases, rehearsed it to music and were already attached to our fabulous DR dancers!  Saying goodbye was already hard and it's only the first day...we can't imagine what it would be like the last day!

We had dinner in the city and that equals...yummm!!! We had sandwiches, fruit, salad, spaghetti con pollo, flan...and chip had french toast and eggs with cheese...good thing there was Aunt Jemimah! Then off to the ballet school to have our first rehearsal with Diguar!! We were all intimidated but luckily this year his assistants (who speak english) teach the sections....they spoke very good english (look behind the mirror) So, we finally calma-ed and got to work! we learned the first of 3 sections!!  There is no real beat, the music was just there, there are no counts, and he doesn't care about the technique, it is all about the heart (look behind the mirror)...perfect for our girls!! :)

We are now here, showered, and yet again the point of delirium...the giggles are endless!!  We found Loyd, he was on my suitcase...Miss Rodriguez is not happy :)

Day 3: When it Rains it Pours

We now approached tres dias all excited about what we were going to experience. After our typical Panamian breakfast we were off to Hogar, our rehersal space, to prepare our dances for the kids. On the way, Anna informed us that we made the the newspaper! 

At Hogar we prepared our dances for the kids! Later at Hogar we had a special apperance from the news! They took live footage for the Buenos Dias news in Panama, which was very exciting! Especially because Ms.T was interviewed:)  

After Hogar we went off to Malambo for lunch, which was muy delisioso :) Depues, we got to work with the kids! As we were teaching the kids a freak rain storm occured... "when it rains it pours!" At first, the rain wasn't bad and then...the rain came harder...and harder...and HARDER! As the rain came down the kids' attention span became shorter and shorter and shorter..." when it rains it pours". After attempting to figure out games and completing the dance, we finished the day on a good note. 

Once leaving Malambo we had a few hours to spare before we had to meet for dinner so we decided to get...ICE CREAM! The best ice cream in Panama!!! After getting our delicious ice cream we went for a walk down through the street markets...which means we went shopping :) We shopped for ourselfs, and we shopped for our girls...thanks to Mama and Papa Baldini we bought the most perfect costumes for the girls performance at Teatro de Nacional! After a great shopping experience we were off to dinner which of course was a great meal.

Then we were off to Diguar!!! After yesterday we entered the rehearsal a little frightened! Though we were scared, we were not giving up! Diguars' assistants taught us more of our 15 minute dance. Learning the dance was semi-difficult especially because all the movement was EXTREMELY slooooooowwww...."when it rains it pours". Although it was difficult, we all got a complement from one of Diguars' assistants saying "you guys are so intelligent! You pick up choreography so fast!" Mama T was so proud of her babies :) Ending our night on a good note we were back on our way to our new home, the hostel. Now we are all sitting here and again the giggles have approached...

Day 4: Sometimes You Just Gotta Separate

Hoy we woke up to the sound of our roommate Hannah saying, "I think its 9:30 guys!!!"  That means we woke up late...After getting up in a hurry and always rushing, which is normally how Ari gets up...always in a hurry, we were off to Hogar to practice our dances. 

Once getting to Hogar we all sat in a circle and discussed our apples and onions, the good and bad, from the previous day. After our discussion, we all got together as a family and learned a hip-hop combo from Eric and Ruben. This was the very first time that we all got to dance together! Depues pracitcan our balie por las ninas, we were off to Malambo. 

Right away at Malambo we were fed another delicious meal of arroz y pollo y veggies. Depues we "just gotta to separate" the five of us to work with all the girls. Because we are such a tight knit family we did not want to separate; we loved being together and working together, but we knew that if we didn't separate our jobs would not ever get finished. Therefore, Ari and Bob went to work with las ninas who will perform, while Burt, Lie, and Chip worked with las little ninas. When we separted magic happened!!! The performers were able to work without the distaraction of the little kids and the little kids were able to have fun. So the truth is that "sometimes you just gotta separtate." Depues balie, some of las ninas wanted to come home with us. Although we wanted to take them with us we knew that they had to stay at Malambo so "sometimes you just gotta separate."

Depues leaving Malambo, we went to go get...ICE CREAM!!! :) MUY DELICIOUS! Luego, we had a chance to go back to our "home", eat muy delicious pizza y salada, and REST! The best part was that we had a chance to let our food settle before we had Diguar. And then Diguar's practice came!! Even though we used to be scared, each practice gets more and more fun because we are all getting closer to everyone in the piece. 

Now we are sitting here, having a big slumber party, eating, singing, laughing, and sharing some of the best memories.. 

Day 5: A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Today...well yesterday was a very busy day!! So busy, that we are finally writing the blog this morning :)  We were up and out by 10 am so we could visit the Panama Canal.  We went to the observation deck, watched a history movie in the theatre and walked through the exhibits!! A favorite would have to be the exhibit on indigenous wildlife in Panama, where we met an owl butterfly and Fred and Loyd's ancestors!!

Then off to Malambo for yes another fabulous lunch.  The girls were finally getting their dance!! There was a light at the end of the tunnel!! They learned their formation changes, and layering!! Woo Hoo Malambo babies!!  We were so proud!

Then back home to eat and prep for Diguar!.  When we got the the ballet school, we found that we weren't working with Diguar tonight, but rather, his wife would Iguadilly would be cleaning and staging the piece...all in Spanish!!  But there was a light at the end of the tunnel, as she got through over half the 18 minute piece!

Then off again...this time salsa dancing!! We went to Havana Panama for some amazing salsa dancing, many of Diguar's dancers joined us there and we danced the night away!  And finally home :)  It was an amazing morning noon and night here in the city of Panama!! Tomorrow (well, today) is an early day.  We are at Malambo with the kids very early this morning! So, we are off to bilar con las ninas! Esta Noche!!

We will continue to recap our days from this point on!!

Love, the DR Dancers!

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