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Colombia 2019: Week 1




JUNTOS is proud to expand our Abroad programming to a new country. We are ESPECIALLY proud to be working in a country like Colombia, with incredibly kind people who are hungry to move beyond a difficult past and embrace their present and future through vibrant art and culture. Below you’ll read about the spectacular work our dance volunteers (DV’s) are doing while in Colombia: they have been diving head first into embracing culture and understanding others through dance.

*A JUNTOS First: The Colombia trip has 13 DV’s, so in general the groups are divided into two separate groups for teaching workshops and performing. Because of this, we are able to reach nearly twice as many communities!

domingo 4 agosto

DV’s arrived in Medellin, Colombia from various parts of the United States and Canada. While some DV’s know one another from past JUNTOS trips or attending the same school, for many it is their first time meeting each other. They certainly get to know each other quickly by being asked to teach in what for most is an unfamiliar language, put dance pieces together in a few short hours and some {VERY} long bus rides.

lunes 5 agosto

The first full day began with a long morning of rehearsing all of the JUNTOS Rep that DV’s learned by video, prior to the trip. The DV’s powered through and arrived at a strong jumping off point to grow into the pieces for the duration of the trip

In the afternoon, dancers taught their first workshop at Sector La Iguana Universidad Luis Amigo. The university pairs college students with youth living in neighborhoods with high levels of poverty, with the goal of ending the cycle of poverty through mentorship. DV’s taught workshops in two separate groups: one group working with young children from those neighborhoods and the second group worked with parents of those children and university students. Both workshops were successful and we can all admit that working with young children, ages 4-6 can be very difficult!

Following the workshop, DV’s returned to the hotel to rehearse JUNTOS Rep further and got some good rest!

martes 6 agosto

DV’s awoke ready to leave the hotel early for a workshop and performance for the staff members at Foundacion De La Atencion A La Ninuez. The organization provides educational, health and psychological support to over 13,000 children living in Medellin. For this workshop and performance, instead of working with children, DV’s taught staff members useful dance exercises they can do with the children the organization reaches. As JUNTOS works to move into creating more sustainable work, this is a great model. Now staff members of Foundacion De La Atencion A La Niñez have a few dance tools under their belt to empower youth through dance.

In the afternoon, DV’s worked with a group of teenage Hip Hop dancers, both giving a workshop and taking a Hip Hop workshop with them. How inspiring it is to meet young dancers with such passion for what they do. In November, the dancers will be competing in a high level competition in Cartagena, Colombia! If they place in the top 5, they’ll travel to Mexico city for a world wide competition. We wish them lots of luck!

miercoles 7 agosto

Because August 7th was a holiday for Colombians, the day was focused on DV’s rehearsing pieces and spending the afternoon and evening exploring the city center Medellin. It was great to be able to see Medellin through the eyes of a traditional tourist for a couple of hours. 

jueves 8 agosto

The day began with an early 1.5 hour drive to our next location: San Carmen De Viboral. During our time in this beautiful small town, we worked with connections made through the Marina Orth Foundation, which runs schools of their own in addition to providing support in other schools within Colombia. Last year, JUNTOSAmbassador Caroline Shriver worked in a Marina Orth school for 4 weeks. She is the reason for this great connection & for JUNTOS’ expansion to Colombia!

The focus of the workshops while teaching in all schools in Viboral was on “creative movement to develop leadership and teamwork.” DV’s taught partnering exercises and focused on students’ development of their own movement. These dance exercises give students creative license and ownership over their bodies’ movement. We all know being a teenager can be tricky and JUNTOS uses dance to help armor students with self-confidence and creative problem solving!

During the morning, dancers split into two groups to teach and perform for teens ages 11 – 14. One boy said he was so inspired by the class he took, he wanted to continue taking dance classes near his home!

Following a busy morning, one group of DV’s prepped to teach a group of teenagers and were caught by surprise when a group of 5 – 10 year olds showed up! The DV’s adapted their plan quickly to be able to teach a much younger group and proceeded to teach a successful workshop.

Meanwhile, the second group returned to Medellin to perform and discuss the mission of JUNTOS with a group of local University Students. We believe sharing the mission of JUNTOS is important to hopefully leave people living in the community inspired to make positive change near their homes.

viernes 9 agosto

Today, DV’s taught three workshops at middle and high schools. All workshops centered around the idea of developing leadership and teamwork. DV’s included elements including trust falls, mirroring exercises and composition in their workshops. These elements give students an opportunity to feel strong and autonomous in their bodies and work as team to build things together.

sabado 10 agosto

Today was a JUNTOS favorite: teaching and performing in a home for the elderly. The home had recently suffered from losing one of the residents. We hope we brought a moment of light and respite to the “abuelitos” of the home during their time of loss.   

Our first {VERY} long drive to Manizales Colombia. We arrived ready for a hot shower and a good meal!


Stay tuned for all of the dance we will continue to share until we have to leave Colombia. We leave a piece of our hearts in every community we work with and look forward to sharing more!