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Medellin, Colombia: A Dancer's Perspective - Part 2

First stop...

Angel de Guardia Fundacion. I had butterflies I was so excited. The same feeling you get when you are ready to perform onstage... I live for these moments! I really wish my friend and business partner could be here to experience this ... it is her journey as well. Next time Haylie!

As soon as we walked in we were greeted by a couple of the young orphaned girls. Smiles on their faces and hearts wide open. A few of them shy, which was explained to me later, about some of the devastating and traumatic things they had experienced before coming to the orphanage. They showed us around to the rooms they had beautifully decorated. They were so proud to share them. Proud of their safe and loving home. After the tour, we were then given a dance performance! Well of course I smiled, clapped and cheered as any proud dance teacher would do!!! I would've liked to have stayed and taught them some classes...next time! We handed them pencil cases from Twinkletoes Studio in Cobourg...thank you, Haylie!

Just as we said our goodbyes, not quite ready yet to leave, someone ran out to the car with a bag full of the handmade garment tags the girls had finished drawing! Ah, yes! Of course, these were the artists that draw on the Limelight garment hangtags! Practically famous if you ask me. They have so little, yet they give us so much. And because of their drawings, we are getting a handmade design of love for each and every item we purchase through Limelight and Soul Dancers charity. How lucky are we! 

Next stop Andres 8t  Arts Dance Studio...

A true dance soul. So talented, so creative and so giving. His story is something that inspires me, inspires our young dancers. (And definitely, something I will get into more detail in a follow-up blog ... and the other dance teachers I was so privileged to meet during this trip).

They were rehearsing for their upcoming show. And this was the moment I experienced firsthand, that dance has no borders, no boundaries, no bias, no limits...

In fact "no" was never an option. 

It was as if I were in Canada in a rehearsal, the very same! As they moved you would never know language was different, (upbringing, daily living conditions, struggles)

We were one. 

I then realized that we truly do have so much, and we must make a little more effort to donate old costumes, dancewear, dance shoes, donate to Soul Dancers Charity, and donate your time. 

 

Nov 26th

Skype day! I was so excited for this!! Finally our h.o.p.e kids that worked so hard for 8 months to help donate $6000 to the Soul Dancers charity and now they get to see the dancers they have helped! Ok, so I must confess that with the language barrier and my complete incompetence with technology, given the struggles of the dancers I was going to do this!!! So thankfully with the help from Logan, the translation of Sebastian and the patience of the dancers, we did it! This is one of the coolest, richest, most proud moments to date. Seeing our h.o.p.e kids meeting

The Soul Dancers experience was unforgettable. I believe we should do it once a month. A Dance class exchange with these children.


Afternoon/early evening 

Downtown. Devastation. Sadness. Beauty. 

Nuns. Orphanage. Julie (dance teacher) running rehearsals. 

I had honestly felt as though I was watching one of our RAD ballet syllabus character exercises...My Most Surreal Moment. 

How simple it was for studio owners in Canada to send over bodysuits they no longer used at the studio and change the lives of these lovely ladies! When I asked the dancers what they dreamt of becoming ...'they All said they wanted to be dancers. Wow. Aren't dancers the best!?

Dreams are universal.... and I was so proud that one of our h.o.p.e studios in Whitby Canada was able to help with their dream. I took a photo and sent to Beth and Wayne the owners to share with their students. And of course, they loved it. 


November 27th

Today was the performance. I was so excited to get to the theater and watch the show. It's my second home and one of the places that make me the happiest. Now I was going to witness what Steve’s vision, a group of young choreographers and a lot of dedicated dance souls can truly do to help. I was sat next to the girls from the orphanage and found out that this was their very first time in a theater. Their first time seeing a show. I cried. My heart may have exploded a little bit. I have been so blessed to have been in a theater, backstage and onstage for most of my life. (still get butterflies of joy)

And couldn't even imagine how life changing this experience was... to these girls... who had so little... who dreamed of dancing onstage...who truly felt the magic of dance. We shared every moment together. All was the same. The stage lights, the music, the lifts, the turns, the costumes, the feeling when the audience clapped... 

The angel responsible for the show Ana Lise. I loved her energy. Enamored with her in just a few minutes I had during our introduction. 

She asked me to come back and teach...

And I promised I would. 

Thank you so much Steve for all that you are doing for these young dancers. Please never ever stop your efforts in helping give back to others.  Sebastian, you are more incredible than you could ever know. Thank you for all that you do. 

What a life changing experience, for myself, for the h.o.p.e Kidz and for anyone who is fortunate enough to be a part of supporting the Soul Dancers charity  

Our dancers are so blessed and have the power to do such great things, to make a positive change in the world. T-shirts, donations, used dancewear shoes, costumes, Skype dance classes or create your own charity show/event through the h.o.p.e group...we can make a difference. 

So this is to all of the studio owners, dance teachers, young dancers and proud dance parents...

My beloved fellow dance souls, it is time for a change, time to educate our dance minds of what lies beyond our own studio walls, time to expand our dance family across the seas...whether you donate old dancewear, or purchase Soul Dancers charity apparel, or donate your time.

5,6,7,8, start

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Medellin, Colombia: A Dancer's Perspective – Part 1

"The reason I chose dance over politics or law, was because of its artistic way of demonstrating and sharing powerful emotions and stories with its audience – with infinite freedom.

We were able to design our own future, we could create change on the spot. We were capable of turning a shuffle, port de bras, pirouette into so much more. I have discovered that dancers are some of the most beautiful souls on the planet... and YOU are. 

I recently visited Medellin Colombia, to visit the orphanages and the young dancers in programs provided by Soul Dancers Charity. I have honestly never seen happier dancers in my life...and I've seen millions in my time. Why when children have so little, could something like dance change their life? Well, I actually think most of us can relate to that. They had such a genuine love and need for dance.

I have always believed that a dancer's soul has no age, no prejudice or boundaries... and all of the way from a small town in Ontario, Canada I was privileged to witness this first hand.

That a group of kids aged 11-18 in Canada, our h.o.p.e kids, could help change the lives of so many in Colombia... that by creating a charity event, in one evening in May 2016, they could raise over $5500 to donate to Soul Dancers Charity. Now I was seeing the love transferred across the world. I couldn't quite visualize how much young dancers under the age of 18 could impact the lives of those in another country who needed help...but they did."

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we dive into the details of my journey! 

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