I have been here about 6 times over the past 10 years. It has always been a huge learning experience and time for reflection and growth. As a teacher, this opportunity to teach internationally forces me to center myself and "teach what matters." What do I want them to take away during my 2 week stay? As a friend and colleague, I am able to support my host in her life adventures of dance and dance making. As a person, I have lots of time to reflect on my way of life and the life I want to live.
What I have noticed about this visit is my ability to be less busy and still have a rich and meaningful time. Yes, I essentially teach and rehearse 9-5, but I have enough down time for a long lunch and little nap, and I have all of my evenings free. I have discovered that I love having this down time. I love having time to read short stories in Spanish, write blogs, contemplate choreography and enjoy relaxed meals. I is a gift not feeling caught up with the details of the everyday mundane and as a result am enjoying my time and feel good about the time I am "working."
I am also noticing the theme of patience in my visit.
First, I have been asking the dancers for "paciencia" with their movement. How slow can you go and how many connections can you make in one gesture or one action? How much can you notice in a given action? Your chest? Feet? Toes? Eyes? Are you giving yourself the time to make the connections strong and lasting? I also am realizing that their learning can be impressive in a given 1 1/2 hour class. They can transform their movement with just a few guiding words from me. But, the next day some of that learning holds while other aspects of it doesn't. So, we must be patient. As a student and teacher. To give less and ask for richer and more durable learning.
Then, patience in myself. I often feel like I am in a nervous rush, but for the past 2 weeks, I have felt like I have all the time I need to enrich myself and give back. This process of rejuvenation takes time for me. It seems like it takes more time for me than others, and that makes me feel self conscious. But, but having patience for my need of rest during the day and a good rest at night has kept me feeling really good (even through a little cold).
Patience with the world. I gave an interview for the newspaper, and before I knew it, I was telling the reporter that we need dance in all schools and that central to dance training is one's personal growth. Do I believe these things? Yes. But, I didn't plan to cover this in the interview. It just came out. The world is a beautiful and challenging place. I see the dancers here struggling with the same insecurity issues dancers have at home in the states. People are essentially grown of the same light and shadow. But, we make change one dance class at a time. Teaching individuals to be patient with themselves and invite self love and lasting learning into their life experience. The current world news is disheartening, as it always is. But, I must believe that I am creating a ripple effect on the world step by step. Action by action. Patient moment by patient moment.
I will try to post a link to my full article when I get on a proper computer! In the meantime keep dancing!
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