Hola amigos! Angela and Emily here! Friday marked the last day of teaching at Malambo. We had a restful night and peaceful morning after sleeping in this morning. We had the opportunity to explore the streets and shops of Casco; some people exploring new areas, others sitting in coffee shops, and others relaxing at the hostel. Coming together at noon to eat lunch, we shared our last Panamanian lunch of rice, beans, vegetables, and meat, and after that hopped on the bus to teach at Malambo for our last day.
Molly Cook taught a classical ballet styled class to the 10-18 year old girls. It was impressive to see Molly’s ballet expertise shine through in this particular class as the girls seemed to be the most focused we had seen them all week. Though the movement was foreign to some of the girls, they seemed to enjoy the challenge of learning a new style. At the end of our class, both groups of students (10-18 and 5-9 year olds) came together for a showing. Both groups had learned quickly and presented combinations that they had learned throughout the week. In such a short time, the girls had impressively immersed themselves in our communication through movement. It was exciting to see the girls to enjoy different styles and teaching methods. After the show, we had a dance party and beautiful friendships and connections began to form through the exchange of movement, culture, photos, and music.
On the way back from Malambo we had time to reflect with each other on the bus and continued our discussion back at the hostel with pizza. This ending reflection was a beautiful representation of growth between our group and the students at Malambo. Later on in the evening some members of the group made it to a latin dance class taught by our very own Move EX director, Kimberly. She taught a fun Latin class with merengue and bachata. We ended our night in style by dancing the night away in our hostel living room during a power outage that affected the whole area of Casco.
Our week was filled with moving, conversation, reflection, sightseeing, eating, and sharing. There was no better way to end our week, but to dance, dance, dance!
¡Hola! It’s Karlie and Jess! Wednesday was our first day of the week sleeping in– sipping coffee and eating breakfast on the balcony until 9. Our relaxed and savory morning was followed by a rigorous, high-speed Salsa class from Tony, a World Champion in Salsa Dance and a Native to Panamá. We then had a little time to wander the streets of Casco Viejo and explore local shops and stands. Earrings, pants, and paintings were just some of the purchases made during this small excursion. Sweaty as can be, we all returned to the hostel and enjoyed a lunch consisting of rice, beans, salad, and chicken.
After finishing lunch, we boarded the bus for yet another thrilling ride with the one and only Rene, and spent the afternoon teaching at Malambo Orphanage. The older group (ages 10-18) was taught by Angela, and the younger group (ages 5-9) was taught by Gloria. Angela’s class was a modern-dance technique inspired workshop that consisted of flocking exercises and advanced lifts. Meanwhile, Gloria was teaching a creative movement class for the excited and energetic little girls of Malambo.
That night, we drove home on Rene’s bus singing Latin pop songs at the top of our lungs, and later many of us went out for tacos, experimenting with different meats and sauces we had yet to ever try. At the restaurant, we played an intense game of pool, practiced Spanish with our waiters, and afterward, went out dancing for several hours in downtown Casco Viejo.
It was truly a wonderful day. A day beginning with dance, ending with dance, and overall saturated with the pure joy of exchanging movement.
¡Buenas! It’s Abi and Rachel here! Today was quite the adventure. It began with an early morning wake up call, a cup of coffee, and breakfast at the hostel. Then we all piled into the bus to head to our first class of the day with the Gramo Danse company. After a long drive through rush hour traffic we arrived at the studio. It was an awesome experience to take a class with the professional dancers here taught by our very own Jennifer Weber. It was so interesting to see the joy of movement between everyone in the class as we did a combination of ballet, modern, and improv. As the class went on we could see the relationships that were starting to form and how dance was overcoming the language barrier between us. Covered in sweat and filled with the peaceful exhaustion that comes with taking a good class, we piled back onto the bus to head to Panama Viejo.
The bus pulled into Panama Viejo and we walked out into the old ruins being transported hundred years into the past. We walked amongst the remaining structures that create a skeleton of the old city. Running up to the top of tower, we looked out at the remaining city and could imagine a topographical map of w
hat used to be. Later, we discovered an active dig, where archaeologists were uncovering more human remains; it was exciting to see the continuing process of uncovering and restoring the past. It was unfortunately time to go, so back on the bus we went.
After a brief lunch of pig’s feet and other Panamanian food, it was time to go teach. Natalie and her assistant Molly went to the National Dance school to teach an intro to modern dance class, while the rest of us headed to Aldea SOS, an orphanage just outside of the city. Brianna taught an improvisation based classed to the older students; they played with positive and negative space, showcasing movement to each other. At the same time, Nicholas taught the younger kids (ages under 10) with an combination of fun games, such an animal parade, freeze dance, who started the motion, and pato pato ganzo (duck duck goose). One of the most memorable moments was when Nicholas asked us to pretend to be un elefante flaco (a skinny elephant). Not only was this a challenging task, but we were informed by the kids that skinny elephants do not, in fact, exist. Both classes were a success and it was beautiful to see the kids in motion and the dance that so easily emerges from their bodies. After a mini dance party and playing with the kids it was time to go. Later during the day it was a time for reflections to acknowledge the challenges and recognize the diversity and unity we had experienced throughout the entire day.
Molly and Natalie here! We arrived in Panama City yesterday and are so excited to be here! After a long day of traveling, we made it to Casco Viejo and spent the evening exploring.
Today we started the morning with a hike to Cerro Ancon, taking in views of the city from one of the highest points. We then went to the Universidad de Panama to take a traditional folklorico dance class. We were joined by students from Taiwain who were also participating in a cultural exchange. Then we traveled to Malambo orphanage to teach our first classes of the trip. We spent time playing with the younger children until it was time for class. The classes were so much fun! Rachel and Abi did a great job teaching and the rest of us had fun getting to dance with the kids.
We look forward to what the rest of the week brings as we continue teaching at Malambo but also at Aldea SOS and the National Dance School! It’s a busy week but it’s worth it!