from Joanna Poz-Molesky
Every time I travel with a new group of students, I am reminded of how important, special, and necessary these trips are. Of course you who are reading this may question by bias opinion for being the founder of this collective, but I can truly say that JUNTOS, which began as a one-time project, is no longer in my hands.
These New York and California students crave something more in dance, in life – they crave a connection they don’t find in their everyday life. Traveling, I am reminded that the communities we work with also crave connection. It is incredible to see how two groups can come together for only two days and create long-lasting friendships. Jonathan, a dancer at Xetulul theme park in Retalhuleu, writes on Facebook, “how sad it is to say goodbye to people you just met when you know you can share so much more with them.” And most recently Juan, dancer in Oaxaca posts: “one of the best days of my life, thanks a lot JUNTOS & BFTEO”. It is a gift to travel with students who are so determined to communicate through dance and who are so eager to make the JUNTOS mission a reality.
As dancers, we may not be offering food, clothing, shelter. Instead we offer human connection and human love, which is so important in this age where technology is soaring. As Karl Paulnack of Boston Conservatory states, we are paramedics, firefighters, and rescue-workers of the human soul. Art is healing and we are its vessel. Sometimes we too are the ones that are in need of this healing and when we travel, we gain strength and knowledge from communities we work with. Our experiences are ever-lasting and through them, we are able to offer the future of our dance world a new method of connection.
I am proud to say this is my work – I am proud of everyone I work with and their enthusiasm (both U.S. students and communities in Guatemala and Mexico). I can only hope that through JUNTOS, we create more friendships and mutual understandings that can be transferred to those around us. I must admit, the beginnings of any organization can be frustrating and difficult, but each trip is a reminder of how necessary this work is. As I fly over Mexico, I am eager to push forward with JUNTOS only in the most positive manners.
Sending much love from el hogar en mi corazón,