Today was a day of rest for all the dance volunteers and MUCH needed! We were pretty tired from our full day of 4 classes yesterday.
We woke up at 9-9:30am and got dressed to walk down to ‘Super Gourmet.’ It was delicious and I got two fresh blueberry muffins and dear Paige surprise bought me a chocolate chip cookie that I had been eyeing. After the café we went to the square to go shopping. We all got matching ‘I <3 Panama' bracelets to unite us on this trip! I also bought a new pink thread bracelet that I love! The market was fun and a lot of the vendors spoke English but they almost all had the same things, just for different prices.
We came back to the hostel and tragedy hit my soul. I was looking for some pictures on facebook when I got a message from my sister Cadey informing me that my dance teacher of six years past away this morning.
Today I wrote:
Mr. Crosby lived a valued life as a person and teacher. He was my ballet teacher for six years, but was so much more than that. He taught me a solid foundation of ballet technique and appreciation of dance and art. Crosby always had a joke up his sleeve to pull out for you. My fondest memory is of Mr. Crosby always calling my best friend, Cadey Carroll, and I his ‘two girlfriends.’ We talked today and both feel that he was more than a teacher; he was like a granddad to us. Mr. Crosby also taught me so much more than dance. He taught me that I can take on any challenge, he taught me hard work, and under his criticism, jokes, and guidance that I am a strong person. With those lessons, Crosby instilled in me a passion that has led me to graduate in dance with a double emphasis in ballet and ballroom from Brigham Young University. I am now currently in Panamá teaching underprivileged orphans those same lessons that Crosby taught me. I find it fitting that on the last day of his life I am teaching dance in a third world country, utilizing the talents he helped me express. Thank you Mr. Crosby, for everything. I will miss you, so very much.
A small tribute to Mr. Crosby’s life (written by Jaimee Weigle):
Carl Crosby trained as a professional dancer in New York City and graced the stages of Broadway. He was the artistic director of the Aiken Civic Ballet Company for more than 30 years, and he was honored by then-Gov. Jim Hodges for his contributions to the art. He has taught thousands of students since arriving in Aiken in the late 1940s, and more than 30 of them have gone on to dance professionally.
After our break, we left for lunch at and Italian place ‘Café Per Due’. So exciting to see a native Italian woman open a pizza restaurant in Panamá of all places! Lunch was delicious and although the margherita pizza wasn’t actually mozzarella cheese it was still pretty legit.
The two Malambo groups headed off to teach at the orphanage as well as the group teaching at Hogar. Our group of three had an extra 30 minutes before we had to walk to the center to begin class.
My ankle is looking better and you can finally see my medial malleolus again!
We walked down to Fundacion San Felipe. Last night, Anna, and I talked a lot about my ballroom background and she got excited about maybe doing a short ballroom number with our girls and some boys from Hogar. When we got to the center she brought over three boys! I picked Crystal (10) and Jaimee (11) to be my ballroom girls and I would be in the dance with the kids to make them feel more comfortable. Anna helped me so much with translating and getting the boys excited about the performance. The girls are really great at knowing what I want to say in Spanish and teaching me the language. I almost spoke completely in Spanish today with them AND thanks to Anna! It was so fun to again see that the language barrier can be a challenge but it’s a good challenge. I loved being able to learn a new language and help the kids see what fun Cha Cha can be and the difference between being feminine and masculine and the roles that you take on in a dance.
Although my day teaching went really well, my other two group members had a rough day. They now have mostly younger girls, a boy that (isn’t suppose to be there) and one or two older girls that didn’t show interest. They tried to get one girl to participate and she said she was said because her Mom hits her. What a tragic thing to hear and be able to do nothing about it in this country and situation we are in. They told her she was a great and beautiful dancer and she smiled and started to participate more. It really broke their spirits though and made a hard day even more trying.
The girls brought us snacks of apple juice and wafers to say thank you and we walked back to the hostel. I felt that I had abandoned my group with only three days left of practice and now this new challenge they had to face. They were worried about choreography, our time constraint, and even if the kids will show up at the performance.
We came home to reflect and brainstorm some ideas and then took a break for snacks. I ate toast :) Paige (Página) and Mei-Ling went upstairs to practice Diguar’s choreography and then we headed off to our 2 hour rehearsal. It was a lot better than yesterday and I caught on to the choreography a lot better today. Thank goodness! It is so helpful to have his assistants teaching us and communicating the dance and phrasing with us.
We got home and decided to go out and grab some grub. I wasn’t too hungry but I was having a sweet tooth attack so I got flan and ice cream with dolce de leche! The flan actually wasn’t very good but the ice cream and dolce de leche was TO DIE FOR! I also found a kitten and played with her!
We came back and reflected on the days ups and downs. There is some contentious feelings but I think everything will work out and the show and presentation will be great! We always talk about the ‘Apple’ or good thing of the day and the ‘Onion’ or bad thing from the day. Today, Dr. Jen said that she was going to take her onion and turn it into onion soup and make something good out of it. Her and Lili have 21 boys at Hogar that are FULL of energy and typical boys. God bless the girls because they need it working with those rascals! I love Lili and Dr. Jen’s enthusiasm about the day and working with such a hard group!
My ankle is doing much better and luckily Carina Fourmyle (our ballroom dancing friend/ physical therapist) rubbed out my back and gave me a jar of Arnik which is a flower cream that helps speed up heeling for sprains! Yay!
We stayed up late talking about life/religion/trials/etc. I really feel like I have known these girls my whole life not just 4 days! Crazy, I know but it is great to have so many similar interests and diverse lifestyles but be able to understand and appreciate where we have all been.