Julia Horner at Los Patojos
Antigua, Guatemala: July/August 2017
Los Patojos is located in a small town called Jocotenango, Guatemala. Its founder, Juan Pablo Romero Fuentes, was honored as a Top 10 CNN Hero in 2014. As a teacher, he saw the impact on the community of drugs and poverty and decided to turn his family’s home into a community center. After over ten years, Los Patojos runs a variety of extracurricular programs, including tutoring and art classes, while providing meals and a safe space for local children.
Over the course of three weeks, Julia taught four classes each weekday for students ranging in age with about 20-25 children in each class. Of her students, Julia said, “It’s amazing to experience young people who are hungry for more knowledge and hungry to express themselves creatively. My students are always so excited for dance classes and are constantly checking which classes I have that day.”
Throughout her time at Los Patojos, Julia not only taught dance technique, but also taught the students the expression found in improvisation and the confidence that comes with performing a piece that you’ve been working on for multiple weeks.
“My last day, we planned a big performance. Each of my classes performed the dance they had been working on. They did so well. I could tell they were nervous; most of them had never danced onstage before. They looked like they had a lot of fun. This place is so special, and the students and teachers have left me with a lot of hope and happiness.”