From Holly Wilder.
Guatemala, thank you, for sharing your dance with me. Your warm dusty clothes lines like rainbows peeled down to dry. Your children, staring with hungry light in their eyes at the dancers that invaded their hospitals like surgeons of the soul. Your windy van rides through the tumbling mountains of jungle with nothing but my ukulele and 6 girls singing about being in love with the world. The night you closed the street in the center of the second biggest city in the country and put up a stage under the stars for us to dance.
Guatemala you have taught me that beauty isn’t something we see, it is something we feel.
In teaching one of our workshops I witnessed Guatemalan amusement park dancers and American conservatory students dance my choreography together with wide open hearts and realized that beauty has nothing to do with technique or perfection and everything to do with the messy, real moments that bring light into our lives. There it was… Humans from different parts of the globe, TOGETHER (JUNTOS) in every way that they could be, experiencing something, telling their story together, fearlessly, and letting me witness the beauty that we all are. And when nothing else in the world makes sense, I will know that life can be this beautiful, and that is enough for me.
I found that this is the beauty that’s within us when we are fearless enough to love without holding back. It is our wildness and our freedom. The same wildness that exists in the native dances of the Garifuna people, in the quiet of the untouched rivers surrounding Livingston, and the mountains that blanket this country. That’s why I feel overwhelmed in the midst of this raw nature, because I am a part of it. A part of the world, the earth, the animals, the openness of the sky.
We are wilder than we let ourselves be. And here with each other, we let ourselves be wild. That’s why we loved each other so much. That’s why I don’t want to leave Guatemala, because here they don’t try and tame you. They paint their walls crazy colors and let them crumble when they crumble, they live next to volcanoes and sit in the open backs of trucks with their hair in the windy rain.
But just because we’ve left Guatemala doesn’t mean we have to be tame. We can still dance in the sun, and climb trees, and live with abandon. Maybe then we can feel the freedom and peace of this place within us. We can greet everyone in the morning with a kiss on the cheek and a smile, and most importantly we can greet ourselves that way. We can open our eyes when we dance and when we live. And we can love the weirdness in the people in our lives, so that we can allow them to be who they are.
Guatemala, you’ve let me stand in front of the earth and dance, you’ve given me family and you’ve brought me home. But most importantly you’ve shown me the world and helped me discover that it fits inside me. It is the part of me that dances when I hear the drums, the part of me that sings when I feel alive. And it is the part of me that is wild, and will never be tamed.