Photos courtesy of the dancers.
On March 12th, 2011, 7 dancers, 1 Fordham Professor of Theology, 2 JUNTOS Board Members, and Teddy (friend of JUNTOS) arrived in Guatemala City. After spending a short night waking up to crowing roosters (who would of thought there was a large group of rooster in a city), we left at 6am for Retalhuleu. Accompanied by Sussan Horzek and Cristian Barrios (who organized our tour), we arrived by 10am at a water-amusement park called ITRA to spend our one free day in the sun. We had been invited to teach the dancers who put on a show for the amusement park guests throughout the day. In return, we were given free access to the water-amusement park and even spent the night in their theater. Monday, we began our first workshop with the dancers of ITRA. We taught them floor barre, ballet, and Horton, and then after a lunch break, a section of one of our pieces. We ended the day performing for them. It was hard to leave after such a short time, but we were scheduled to leave for Xela, the second largest city in Guatemala. Tuesday morning and afternoon we performed in a Children’s Hospital and an Orphanage before beginning a two-day workshop with some local dancers in the evening. Wednesday morning we went to Zunil (also the director’s father’s hometown), a town outside of Xela, to perform in the courtyard of the local school. We were able to take a quick trip to the hot springs nearby before finishing day-two of our workshop in Xela. Thursday, we traveled to Totonicapán to teach a workshop in the morning and then perform in their beautiful colonial theater. Friday was our big performance day. We began with a 10am performance in El Teatro Municipal of Xela. We filled the house with 800 students from public schools in the area. Friday evening, we had our first out-door gala performance in the Cultural Center Casa No’j. Saturday, we left for Antigua and performed in the patio of a retirement home. We finished the day buying souvenirs, eating our last meal together at Casa Santo Domingo, and seeing the small eruption of an active volcano. Sunday, March 20th, 2011, we said our tear-filled good-byes, but are not soon to forget our life-changing experiences – friendships made, communities created, and a larger JUNTOS family.[wpsgallery]