From Yoshie Fujimoto Kateada:
In trying to figure out how to distill all of the feelings I had in Mexico down to words, I read several of the previous blog posts and realized, with relief, that I’m not alone. Each person, in their own beautiful articulate way, described the initial frustration of attempting to use words to describe a JUNTOS trip. And, each found some sort of outlet, a way in which to frame their experience that allowed the use of language.
I don’t know what my strategy is yet, but here goes.
When I think about those two weeks in Mexico, I have a sort of bodily memory of collective joy, both with my fellow JUNTOS peers, and with the incredible people that we had the privilege of working with. I felt more connected, and invested, in my relationships with others than I ever have before.
Before this trip, I had struggled for a long time to understand why I was dancing. I began taking dance classes when I was five, and as much as I have always been certain I wanted to pursue dance, a part of me never understood why. I never truly felt that I loved dance for the sake of itself. In Mexico I began to realize that I don’t love dance, I love what dance is capable of. I love connecting with, and listening to, and being heard by, other humans. And dance is simply the most effective way for me to do this. Dance holds incredible potential for meaningful connection because movement is such a universal language. This is not a new revelation, I had probably heard this wisdom from countless people prior to this trip, but I didn’t really understand until now. I want to learn to carry this forward. I want to figure out a way to remember that dance is not the strive for perfection. Dance is not the mastery of technique. Dance is not people onstage and people watching; a clear division between the artists and the audience. Dance is communication, and an expression of the human condition that we all share.
On our last day in Mexico we taught a group of Ballet Folklorico students in Guanajuato. This workshop felt like such a fitting culmination of everything that we had learned. The language barrier no longer felt as important, and there was this incredible feeling of group support among us. We met the students with enthusiasm and joy and they met us with intense focus and curiosity. By the end of the workshop, we felt like one cohesive group. This was such a powerfully clear and affirming experience. And it reminded me that the little things make a difference. Five minutes spent giving a correction and affirming work well done. Two hours spent with students who have an unreserved love of the art of movement. Two weeks spent dancing with each other. It was all so short in the course of a lifetime; so small next to the huge gulfs of misunderstanding that exist in the world, but it made a difference.
As I struggle to write about those two weeks, I want to narrow the time spent into one big realization, but I think that the profundity of this experience is really the collection of little moments. I realized how much our small actions make a huge impact on each others lives. Two hours spent connecting and dancing created more change, and positive energy, than a lifetime of perfecting the art of dance. Dance doesn’t have to be perfected, it needs to be shared. Honing and creating an artistic voice is an important use of time, but it cannot be done in isolation. Dance is most rich and powerful when it is shared.
Small actions make a big difference when they come from a place of love. Because love is the most powerful force of all, and dance is just love made visible.
Thank you for everything,