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Zoe Geiger: Dispatches from Ecuador

Zoe Geiger was a dance intern in Ecuador from January to March, 2017.  While there she kept a blog that is frankly one of the best we’ve ever seen from a participant.  If you want to know more about the program in Ecuador, Zoe’s blog is the perfect place to start:

Below is a sample of just one of her many fantastic posts:

Primer Día a la Sinamune

 Today was the first day of the internship at Sinamune!

Before Gaby met me at my host house, I had breakfast with my host mom, Martha. She made me a banana smoothie to go along with some bread, granola, and watermelon.

At 7:30, Gaby and I made our way to the bus stop to Sinamune. Thankfully this is a quick ride, about 15 minutes and is not too complicated. Sinamune is a truly wonderful program. There are several academic rooms, a therapy room, a few music rooms, and a large studio at the top for dance and orchestra. On the first floor there is also a shop with Ecuadorian crafts, clothes, purses and backpacks. The money from this goes directly to the program. I will be sure to buy something from there soon. The students range from 12 years old to about 47 or so.

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On several occasions throughout the month, tourist groups come to watch the orchestra and a few dancers perform. Today began with a group from the US. Before they arrived Gaby and I were led into the “green room”, so to speak, where three lovely ladies with special needs were getting ready for their performance with their instructor, Rosita. I helped them get dressed and then put on their eye shadow. I’ve only ever applied makeup to another person maybe twice, so this was interesting but I think they looked pretty alright.

Gaby and I then went out to the audience to watch the performance with the tourists. My face hurt from smiling. The orchestra was awesome with the students will special needs participating with tambourines and shakers on the side. The three ladies danced about four songs, changing into new dresses each time. A few of the boys who were playing instruments on the side, joined the ladies for a few dances. It was beautiful, and since this is happening about eight times while I am here I will be sure to take some pictures and videos soon.

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After a short break for recess and lunch, the dance classes began. I am Rosita’s assistant for the next two months. Each day may be a little different but today there were three one-hour classes. For the first 20 minutes or so Rosita had me warm up the students. I was grateful to have Gaby as my translator and have already made a list of body parts and movement words in Spanish in my notebook. Rosita then taught the remainder of the class with me helping teach, and keep the students engaged. I do have some pictures of this 😉 Enjoy. I also have videos but can’t seem to get them to work on this blog 🙁

At 1 PM or 1300, I am done at Sinamune.

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On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I will then be heading to Spanish classes after Sinamune for class from 3-5. Today, Gaby took me anyway to learn the busses. This route is unfortunately much longer than the first…about an hour. The school is in the neighborhood where the hostel was, so it was familiar. Gaby and I stopped for lunch for her…(my host family is only supposed to include breakfast and dinner, but Martha is so sweet she made me a box lunch). So I enjoyed the best instant coffee I’ve had (it’s from Columbia) while Gaby ate. Then we took the bus back to my house…another hour trip. On the bus we had some great conversations about religion, specifically both of us sharing views of agnosticism. This was really interesting because most of Quito is Catholic. Also, I am the first Jewish person she has ever met. Naturally she had some questions about what the religion teaches, what a bat mitzvah is, etc. She understood and appreciated how I view Judaism as my culture and ethnicity more than my religion. Anyway, it was great to have her with me on the bus. I am a little anxious about taking the busses alone. But hopefully by next week or so I will feel much more confident.

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While waiting for dinner, I sat in the/my living room looking over the West of Quito reading Hotel New Hampshire. Martha got stuck in traffic so dinner was around 8 and I ate with Martha and my host dad, Marco. We had potatoes, salad, chicken and a naranjilla smoothie. I was able to chat a good amount with them about where we have traveled, what activities we each like to do, how long I’ve been dancing, etc. Martha told me a better, faster, bus to take home and drew me a nice map. Shout out to Naomi for the notebook! I have numbers, addresses, and tons of hand-drawn maps to help me find my way around Quito. I’ve spent about an hour on google maps trying to better understand the directions. Now my eyes are tired and I’m thinking about my 6 o’clock alarm.

Abrazos de Quito,

Dance Internship in Ecuador

Connect with the culture of Ecuador through the universal language of dance and movement. Intern with a dance organization that promotes folkloric dance of the Andes region, or a foundation offering dance therapy and education to people with disabilities.

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