from Julianna Bulgarelli
Upon returning to the U.S after my first Juntos trip, I feel as if I have left a part of me still in Mexico, still with those young boys and girls. Now that I’m back in my familiar environment, I am realizing things about this trip that have changed me so much not just as a dancer and artist, but as a human being. I feel like this trip came at the perfect moment for me; just finishing my first year as a college student and still trying to figure out how I want dance to play a role in my life. I’ve always known that dance would somehow be a part of my future and since starting school at Ailey and Fordham I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement and inspiration to continue dancing and find a company that suits my interests. And yet, within all the classes, training, rehearsals, auditions and performances, something was missing this past year. Teaching in Mexico, transforming the artistic mind of children and adults of all ages, has enabled me to see that dance is not just about my goals, my training, my love, my passion and me. I don’t have to go into a class every day and stress over how I look, how I need to improve this and that or how I need to impress that teacher. Of course, those are all normal feelings, but what is most important for me as I’m heading towards my professional dance career is that I realize that dance isn’t just about a job, an acceptance, some kind of praise or acknowledgment. No, dance is about sharing, about giving all that the mind, body, soul and heart can give to another person or group of people. I don’t want to perform with the intent to prove myself anything; I want to perform to SHARE myself with others. Within each venue, each class that we took or taught, I felt like our whole group was spreading some kind of magic dust onto each child, teen and adult. At the same time, we were receiving magic from them; love and dedication that we could see in every child’s face. We were not dancing to make a profit, make a cut or prove ourselves to someone. We were dancing to dance. We were all dancing to make a difference in someone’s day, maybe even in someone’s life. I will forever remember the faces of those girls at the Don Bosco orphanage who begged us not to leave. What we gave them was a chance to get on stage and feel something that we get to feel everyday. As dancers, we know what it’s like to perform for an audience, but those girls don’t have the privilege to do that everyday and I feel like by sharing this experience, by sharing dance, we have shared a part of ourselves. That is something that I hope will live in them forever, because it will live in me forever.
Now, whenever I dance and perform, I am going to be dancing for those girls, those older woman and those young dancers. I am going to be dancing for my family, my friends and the people in my life with whom I have shared a part of myself. If I am dancing with my whole being, dancing not to prove anything, but to give and receive love, then that’s when I’m truly dancing; dancing because it’s who I am.
– Julianna Bulgarelli