“Dance gives us this incredible point of entry, to communicate across language barriers and borders and political rifts. Now I’m waiting to go back too- there’s an urgency to do so much more, to share art everywhere to bring people together.”
– Maia Dunlap, Excerpt from “Guatemala Thoughts (2011).” June 3, 2011
“Ultimately, what I learned from my experiences in Guatemala is that you cannot take all of the world’s problems onto yourself: it’s not realistic, possible, or effective. But that’s ok, because what you can do is take what you feel passionate about and figure out how to give it value in the world. For me, that’s dance, and I finally understand that the power of communicating through movement, and of sharing that with others, is extraordinary.
“[…] Art is the fabric of culture. It gives texture, color, richness, and meaning to our lives: it describes and defines our human experience. When we share our art we share ourselves, and as artists, sharing our art is sharing the very best part of ourselves. Communicating through art allows us to open our hearts and our minds to each other. We learn about ourselves and those around us, no matter how different or inaccessible they may seem- art allows us to connect on a basic human level. At the risk of sounding naïve, I really believe that in doing so we can create a human community that transcends borders. And how else can we gain enough understanding of each other to achieve compassion and peace? Of course, art is not going to solve all of the world’s problems- so much other work needs to be done, and that work is just as valuable. But my experiences in Guatemala taught me that for me, as a dancer, sharing my art is the most important way that I can try to bring any light into the world. I am so grateful and indebted to all the people I met in Guatemala, for dancing, sharing, smiling, and learning with us- they taught me infinitely more than I taught them.”
– Maia Dunlap, Excerpt from “Reflections on Guatemala.” August 2, 2010
“Before this trip I wanted to think dance was important, because it’s so important to me, but deep down I didn’t believe that it was. This trip completely changed all that. Through teaching the workshops and performing at the places we did, I realize that dance and art hold a place in the world that cannot be underestimated. I saw that the power of communicating through movement, of having dance as a tool to express yourself and share, is extraordinary. Dance and art bring a light into the world that is essential. Even, maybe even especially, in places of tremendous poverty and hardship, where so much other work needs to be done, dance cannot be taken out of the equation.“
– Maia Dunlap, Excerpt of letter written to the director after Guatemala 2010