Why dance can make a change
My main point of contact has been Maestra Irma Diaz, a local dance and music teacher. As soon as as I arrived, she has been very welcoming and introduced me to the rest of her family: Her parents, her brother, her husband and her daughter, Tajëëw.
Irma is passionate about dance and teaching it. When I visited Tlahui over a year ago with Juntos Abroad, she told us she was grateful to meet people who "love dance and making others dance" (Yes, that's the title of this blog!).
Irma told me that when she was little she always loved dance (specifically ballet) but never the opportunity to take classes due to financial limitations. Instead, she became a musician, but her passion for dance never faded. She got a scholarship in a nearby state, Veracruz, where she was able to achieve her undergraduate degree in music, while taking dance classes. She joined a local folkloric dance company, and has had the opportunity to tour around the country and Europe performing traditional Mexican dances. When she returned to Tlahui, she knew she had to make sure that future generations had better dance opportunities, and started contacting dance organizations. This is where JUNTOS comes in.
Similar to Irma, I'm aware of the lack of westernized dance training in underfunded communities in my own country. In 2015, I moved to New York to study dance at Marymount Manhattan College, but always envisioned that one day I would come back and share what I had learned abroad (Hint: this is where JUNTOS comes in!). What is great about this trip is it keeps reminding me of all the people around the world who believe dance can make a change. Sometimes, we just have to get out of our comfort zones to meet thinkers alike.