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By March 23, 2011June 16th, 2013No Comments

from Alicia Delgadillo

Guatemala- Day 7- March 19, 2011

As Dr. Maureen O’Connell put it- we are doing so much more than just building houses. This is ten times more personal and it resonates throughout an entire community, rather than just one family. Dance, and art in general, is a universal language. How much more of yourself can you give if you’re not dancing? I feel like it is the ultimate portrayal of self. There is no canvas to hide behind, no instrument to hide your face- dance is a full body art form.
Katie Berry said last year that “the best me is the dancer in me.” I can’t agree with her more. When I’m on stage, I am in my most vulnerable state. I attack it with open arms and wide eyes just the way I was welcomed into this country and these people’s lives. You must remain vulnerable and open-minded and welcome to change. These are the things that make the world go ’round. These are the things that make the sun rise and set each day. We had our last performance today in Antigua. It was at a retirement home near our hotel. The sun was so bright and the sky was crystal clear. It was beautiful to see how appreciative they were of us, even at that age.
We have performed for dancers and non-dancers, children and families, the elderly and nurses all over Guatemala now and in each place it was the same response. Awe, admiration, appreciation, recognition, inspiration, and continuation are just a few of the words I can think of to describe the atmosphere in each location. We are in awe of each other and the beauty we see. We admire everyone’s efforts, hard work, and dedication. There is an appreciation for dance, art, and our involvement in this area of expertise and this project. We recognize what is important to us and the talent and wisdom that surrounds us. We are inspired over and over again from watching each other, experiencing the culture, and looking at our surroundings. Finally, we see growth and continuation of this project and ourselves in the future. This year was a continuation of the past. Someone mentioned at one point that we had added on and expanded on what they had accomplished last year
I can’t wait to return to this family. This whole experience has brought me closer to my own roots too. Although I am Nicaraguan and have only visited twice when I was young, my journey to Guatemala has given me a new outlook and appreciation for what I saw in Nicaragua all those years ago. I hope to return to my home in the near future.
As far as my dancing goes, I feel like I have reached a level where it’s not just me out there. No more me against the world. Instead it is me dancing WITH the world, FOR the world and everything in between. I hope I am strong enough to never forget these feelings. I can capture memories by taking pictures and writing things down but the hard part is remembering those feelings especially with everything that goes on in our “busy” and “selfish” New York lives. I’m determined to channel this energy as often as possible.
I am so thankful to have had the chance to do this for myself and the beautiful people of Guatemala. Thank you Joanna, Sussan, Cristian, mom and dad and everyone else for allowing me to find a new sense of self for the better. I can only hope to continue the path I am on and keep giving back to those who need it most. ‘Til next year…
love always,
alicia delgadillo