Month: December 2013

IU Movement Exchange Panama Day 1

Day 1 in Panama was amazing!

We started the day with an amazing traditional Panamanian lunch, walked around Panama City, took a nature hike, and spent the day sharing yoga, dance and lots of love and affection with the beautiful and sweet children at the Malambo Orphanage…what we shared and experienced is beyond description and was so meaningful to us and them! Truly honored to be here and be touched so deeply by these lil angels!

Later we had an incredible Panamanian dinner at a lovely Family Restaurant and then walked though the city streets to enjoy the warm breeze and awesome architecture of this historic city! Truly an Epic first day!!!

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Monday Magic

Like any day for Movement Exchange, our Monday was full of adventure and exciting events! From a traditional dance class to a beach lunch to learning about biodiversity and then returning to Malambo for music, dance, yoga, and fun. We were able to make so many connections today with the kids that participated, and it was so wonderful to be around so many smiling faces all day! ūüôā Can’t wait to see where Panama takes us next!

Panama! Day One

Today, we hit the ground running!  One thing that I love about our trips to Panama is the active and spontaneous atmosphere that feels present everywhere in the country.  Our days are always packed Рactive with dancing and travelling and discovering Рbut are never rushed, which can lead to wonderful, unexpected moments.

We began today with a delicious lunch at Magnolia and a fresh itinerary Рhiking Cerro Ancon in the early afternoon, then teaching the girls at the Malambo Orphanage until evening.  The humid trek up Ancon was well worth the sweat; the top of the hill boasts a breathtaking view of Casco Viejo (old Panama City) and Panama City (the newer parts), while the hike itself takes you through a quiet, friendly Panamanian neighborhood and brings you in close contact with all kinds of Panamanian flora.

My favorite part of the day, though, came from a rather unplanned moment at Malambo.¬† At a lull moment, one of the young girls asked to see my camera.¬† After giving it to her…and then to another girl….and another….I found that the camera had a whole collection of photos of the interactions between MoveEx and Malambo from the girls’ perspective.¬† There are photos of fingers and noses and shoes, but also of smiling faces and happy dancers.¬† If I had taken these photos, some of the same shots would still be there – but the close-ups and the unabashed affection in some of them were moments that wouldn’t have been captured had I not, on a whim, let the little girls have free reign with it.

Here’s to a whole week more of Panama’s unexpected moments!

Panama round 3!

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!

Hannah