I completed a 2-week residency to introduce creative dance improvisation to two local holistic health centers: Centro Nana Nagle and Corazon de Nana. Located in the marginalized community of San Juan de Miraflores, the centers are safe havens for the community and for children/youth ages 4 -13 to explore ways of managing and overcoming physical/emotional trauma related to abuse. Classes consisted of thematic movement progressions to encourage creative problem solving through dance. An important element of this work included interrelationships in groups, small and large, culminating in whole group improvisations at the end of every class.
A total of 73 children attended 18 classes. We also held a 3-hour staff workshop for teachers and affiliated social workers and therapists. Some reflections from the dancers:
“I felt free.”
“I feel connected to the other kids.”
“It was fun to dance together.”
“I never knew I can dance. Now I know that I can dance.”
“I feel everyone in the class is my friend.”
“This was a different kind of dance. It was fun.”
As part of the effort to encourage program sustainability, my ongoing collaboration with Mettler Studios Inc. provides post residency follow-ups in the forms of (i) distance mentoring services and (ii) scholarships that provide opportunities for interested staff to attend the Mettler Studios Creative Dance Teacher Training in Tucson, AZ. I look forward to welcoming staff from Peru to attend the 2017 Teacher Training. Until then, I provide lesson plan guidance to help Centro Nana Nagle and Corazon de Nana integrate creative dance classes into their existing program.