JUNTOS is so excited to travel ABROAD for the first time in over 2.5 years! We will be traveling to Guatemala, visiting Guatemala City and Xela with 6 Dance Volunteers, 1 student leader and 4 JUNTOS Collaborators. For 10 days our Dance Volunteers will teach JUNTOS workshops, perform contemporary and modern dance repertory, and learn new styles like Salsa with local professional dancers in Guatemala. JUNTOS plans to work collaboratively with Aldeas Infantiles SOS, Casa Onice, Centro Cultural Efrain Recinos, Fundabien, Escuela Municipal Estudio de danza Estudio Academia Chevah, AMADANZA, Escuela Circo Batz, and Cuerpo de Baile. We look forward to making new connections and growing our global familia.
Tune in daily for updates to our Travel Log!
*A JUNTOS First: JUNTOS is building a new way to travel and create connections Abroad. Together we can rebuild the global path to in-person artistic and cultural exchange!
Past JUNTOSAbroad travels in Guatemala.
JUNTOS Dance Volunteers arrived safely into La Aurora Airport in Guatemala City today. We are staying at a hotel here for the evening before our big first day of activity! We lunched outdoors in our hotel’s garden and took a walk around the neighborhood to get some Guatemalan paletas and totopos. Dance Volunteers spent the rest of the afternoon creating plans for our first workshop tomorrow. Our dinner was a typical Guatemalan dish – pepián, with rosa jamaica and tortillas. After dinner we discussed our itinerary and other trip details and JUNTOS Staff answered questions and gave out our yellow JUNTOS t-shirts.
We are now full, exhausted, and ready to sleep. ¡Nos vemos mañana!
Our first day of work began with a beautiful breakfast at our hotel of juevos, frijoles, platanos, frutas, pan, y cafe of course. When we finished, we checked out of the hotel, loaded up the bus, and headed out to our next home at a beautiful Airbnb in Guatemala City. We quickly checked in, then boarded the bus again for Estudio Academia Chevah – a studio owned by Tania De Figue – who generously loaned her space for us to rehearse. Many thanks to Tania, and we look forward to leading a workshop at her studio this Saturday!
After rehearsal, we grabbed some quick lunch for the bus ride and traveled to the studio of Ballet Moderno y Folklorica/AMADANZA for a workshop and performance exchange with their dancers. We were amazed at how welcoming the dancers were, and how open they were to trying new things in our workshop. Our dance volunteers worked as a team to lead the class in a warm up, exercises across the floor, improvisation, and a challenging final combination. Then our volunteers performed JUNTOS favorites – “Paloma Negra”, “Awakening”, and “MeMeMe Makes 3”. And as an impromptu gift, two dancers from AMADANZA graced us with a beautiful traditional Guatemalan dance from Chajul el quiché, where they presented and danced with a Guatemalan textile through a story of love. It was a truly beautiful exchange of dance, stories, and culture.
As a reward for all the hard work, we went out for a delicious dinner at Saúl Bistro before we went home to debrief on the day, and prepare for tomorrow.
¡Vaya bien y hasta mañana!
Our second day began with breakfast at the airbnb. We packed our bags for our workshops and performance and hopped on the bus with our driver Toby to get to our first location of the day, Aldeas Infantiles SOS. We began rehearsal in their outdoor theater space and prepped for our workshops. We gave a total of 4 Movement Workshops with the children and youth that live there. Then our Dance Volunteers prepared for the presentation. JUNTOS performed 3 dance works for the staff, leaders, and youth living at Aldeas Infantiles SOS. We spoke with the organization’s directors Lidia Velasquez, and program leaders, Enrique and Karen about how the organization works to serve infants, children, youth and teenagers who have become orphans or experienced violence in their families and have now come to live there. We were so grateful to experience the love and care of this organization and share the art of movement and community.
After our tour of Aldeas, we had some lunch and rested for a bit at our airbnb. We then went back to the city center to take a Latin Dance Workshop with JUNTOS Alumni, past Ambassador, and educator Nestor Rodriguez. Nestor gave an energy filled workshop where Dance Volunteers learned Salsa, Bachata, Contemporary/Latin Fusion and worked on artistry and musicality. Thank you Nestor!
We finished our dance with food at Lima, eating ceviches, arroz con pollo y camarones. Then we ate some paletas and headed back to our airbnb. The group sat and discussed Guatemalan history, conflict, American/Guatemalan relations, culture, art, and the history of Mayan communities.
After a packed first two days, we are signing off to rest and recharge. ¡Un abrazo! See you soon!