Children
 Panama
Project #8753

At Risk Children Dance for Social Change

by Fundacion Calicanto

It is not an easy task to show for all the emotions, situations and memories experienced throught an entire year using dance. However, on November 25, the students of the ENLACES program managed to translate a series of unimaginable sensations by moving  to the rythm of sounds that evoqued so many intense memories. We celebrate this annual process with our closing activity in which all of our student, their families, teachers and the staff participate.

Watching each one of them create a high-quality performance out of their talent on stage; the smiles drawn on the faces of their families, teachers, classmates and all of those who in some way or another feel part of this beautiful program by sharing their experience in distinct areas to make a significant impact on the lives of our students, makes it all worth while.

Thanks to the support of professionals, companies, artists, organizations and team throughout 2016, we have managed to affect change in the lives of 297 people, with dance, art, and constant emotional work. Using these tools for personal transformation is a job that enriches us all in different ways. Not just those who recieve these classes, but also each and everyone who decides to take part in our team.

In addition to the achievements of this year, we have been able to enjoy of:

  • 13 plays and art performances, which the ENLACES students were able to attend.
  • 12 performances in which the ENLACES students performed.
  • 9 award ceremonies for the students in the ENLACES program.
  • 15 seminars for the ENLACES students taught by international teachers and artists.
  • 6 open-call contemporary dance classes were given to children of the community. These courses had a total of 83 participants.

Dance is a tool of transformation that affords the body the opportunity to safeguard experiences to reproduce them from an aesthetically beautiful place, just like our students do with each one of their pieces that shows their most authentic self!

In a child’s life is hard to enumerate all the changes that go on in a span of six years. Now, try to imagine describing these changes in the lives of our kids! Let’s say we try to do so every year in our annual recital, and with that in mind, this year we titled it “Experiencias” (Experiences) to honor what we have lived in Enlaces since its beginning in 2010.

 

In the previous years we had received requests of having more than one date for our show, and we decided this was the right year to do so. In two days we had three full performances, were more than 600 people assisted including students from several public schools, our children’s families, school teachers and general public. Twenty-five children of our core program and fifteen children selected from our school program in the Instituto de Nuestra Señora de la Merced filled the stage of the Anita Villalaz Theatre, with five costume changes and an abundance of talent and joy.

 

Choreographies were inspired in pieces of literature, like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince” and Estanislao Zuleta’s “The praise of difficulty”. Also one of our students had the opportunity to open one of the six numbers presented, with his solo that earlier in August won a Diamond Medal in the International Dance Competition Danza Activa 2016, held in Panama City.

 

As we look forward to our next show, we keep on accumulating movement, laughter, obstacles, knowledge, love… experiences that enrich our children’s path of artistic and personal development.

 

Learn more at: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzaRP9yvTg4

After classes with Diego Alvarez Sanou
After classes with Diego Alvarez Sanou

Dance is the language our children have chosen to connect with the world, a beautiful international language. These past few months have been full of new lessons and experiences on and off stage from an ample diversity of cultures, nationalities, dance styles and techniques.

 

Recently our children had the opportunity to receive two master classes from dancer and choreographer Diego Álvarez Sánou from Costa Rica’s Colectivo Clá. With him, they worked on new sequences and movements inspired from hip-hop and urban culture. Additionally, two of our students began classic training once a week with the Ukrainian dancer established in Panama Ilya Kun, who’s also a dancer of Panama’s National Ballet.

 

In order to end the first of the three terms of 2016, the children made a small recital in our Dance Classroom, where they presented a series of theatre sketches and work-in-progress from their ballet and contemporary dance classes. Parents, teachers, volunteers and friends filled the room and the children dazzled us with their concentration and exciting simplicity.

 

Following this, we received the biggest surprise we have received all year: our oldest student, Juan, was selected to participate in OPUS I, an international youth dance competition in nothing less but Slovenia! He traveled with his dance teacher José Leonardo Amaya to this European country. It was a long journey and on their way there, they stopped in Paris for a day and a half, where they visited as much as they could of the iconic sites of this beautiful city. Juan was ecstatic and mentioned it had always been his dream to go there, he could not believe his eyes when he saw the Eiffel Tower and said he would go back in a heartbeat. Once in Slovenia, they were greeted by the competition organizers; they had never received participants from Central America, let alone from Panama. José participated in the dance workshops previous to the competition, and one of his teachers there, the director of the Afro-Contemporary Dance Group Momentum, Mâsa Kagao, invited Juan and his teacher José to dance in her presentation in the Španski Borci theatre of Ljubljana, a day before the competition where Juan presented his solo “Open Waters” in front of more than 500 people. Needless to say, it was a wonderful experience for Juan and for his hosts, who were impressed by his talent and humbleness. Once back in Panama, he was received by his peers and teachers with a lot of excitement and admiration. He said he loved Slovenia, and the fact that he made many new friends that dance too!

 

To continue the journey through performing arts’ diversity, the kids were invited to see the Russian National Ballet from Moscow, in its international tour of the classic “Swan Lake”. They were delighted and startled to see the classic technique in its purest form. They learned about Tchaikovsky’s music and the technical difficulty and high standards this ballet requires. And if that was not enough for this month, the children had the opportunity to see another classic, but from musical theatre: “The Wizard of Oz”, performed by a local theatre group.

 

To end this period on an inspiring note, we also invited the 157 students we work with from the Instituto de Nuestra Señora de la Merced (Institute of Our Lady of Mercy), to see the contemporary dance piece “Deesevuelo”, by the Brazilian dancer Carolina Figuereido.

 

Enlaces’ children dance vocabulary is in continuous expansion. Every time they see a new show, learn about classics and dance with other dancers from different backgrounds, not only they accumulate knowledge, but their vision of a brighter future broadens.

Our end of term presentation,credit Alegre Saporta
Our end of term presentation,credit Alegre Saporta
Showing our work-in-progress for our audience
Showing our work-in-progress for our audience
Our end of term presentation
Our end of term presentation
Juan in his day in Paris
Juan in his day in Paris
Juan in his day in Paris
Juan in his day in Paris
Dancing with  Afrocontemporary dancer Masa Kagao
Dancing with Afrocontemporary dancer Masa Kagao
Dancing in Ljiubljana
Dancing in Ljiubljana's Spanski Borci theatre
Juan during his presentation in OPUS I competition
Juan during his presentation in OPUS I competition
Juan during his presentation in OPUS I competition
Juan during his presentation in OPUS I competition
The children in the red carpet for the "Swan Lake"
The children in the red carpet for the "Swan Lake"
Receiving the INNOVA Award in MacroFest
Receiving the INNOVA Award in MacroFest

We finished this year’s Panamanian summer very energized and began Enlaces’ 2016 course in mid March with many surprises and intense activities.

In March, as part of Panama City’s arts and creative industries festival MacroFest 2016, Enlaces received the INNOVA award in the Category of Social Impact through the Arts. As part of the festival’s program our top student Juan presented a solo in front of more than 500 people.

Following this great pep, three of our children were casted in “Las Mariposas Ya no Viven Aquí” (Butterflies no longer live here), a local production that has traveled to Guatemala, Costa Rica and Miami since 2014, promoting through dance the message of Tolerance and Fraternity by staging the Jewish Holocaust and its impact in our modern society. The cast consisted of 96 professional and non-professional dancers, who were directed by the renowned Spanish choreographer Fernando Hurtado. Our selected children assisted to intense daily rehearsals for a month, and were able to participate in educational workshops by the international organization Yad Vashem about the Holocaust and the consequences of indifference. There were four presentations between April 5 and 6, to whom more than 10,000 people assisted. The rest of our children also received workshops and talks about this subject by Yad Vashem, assisted to the theatre to see their peers and received a special dance workshop by Fernando Hurtado.

After the rush of a very successful production, one of our students received an invitation to represent Panama in the XXth Summit of Dance Schools and Academies of Central America held in Managua, Nicaragua, on April 29th, as part of the celebrations of the International Day of Dance, where dance students from Central America and Mexico presented their work. Our 15 year-old student Juan, traveled to this Central American country for the first time, and aside from taking ballet, jazz, modern and folklore classes with renowned teachers, he presented a solo in the magnificent Theatre Ruben Darío of Managua.

It has been a very exciting “First Act” for 2016, and we are very happy we have started the year with events that promote and recognize the talent of our students in national and international stages, help them build their artistic curriculum and nurture their dance experience. 

 

*The names in this report have been changed to respect the privacy of our benecifiaries.

Audition of "Butterflies no longer live here"
Audition of "Butterflies no longer live here"
End of the show
End of the show
In costume for "Butterflies no longer live here"
In costume for "Butterflies no longer live here"
Our talented Juan in Managua
Our talented Juan in Managua
Very exciting "First Act" for 2016
Very exciting "First Act" for 2016

Links:

Volunteers having fun with the kids
Volunteers having fun with the kids

What a great summer we have had!! The past few weeks has been really busy for us, from greeting donors that had visited us from all over the world to planning our 2016 calendar and founding strategies. The good news is that we had the opportunity of upgrading our Enlaces Summer Program, this time with the participation of our Nuestra Señora de la Merced students plus our regular twenty kids.

The importance of creating spaces for recreational activities is that because most of our children lack of places where to play and be kids. They live in one of the most dangerous areas of Panama in houses so small it is almost impossible to play inside. So, every time they go outside, they take the risk of entering zones ruled by gangs.

We strongly believe that children must be children and should have the opportunity of exploring the world and play freely.

With our summer program, we take a stand against violence by taking them to safe places where they can be themselves and enjoy all fun that comes with the summer. On our first trip we visited Parque Omar, a nearby park where they flew kites all day and took a brief class of road safety for children.

Lastly, we conclude the Summer Program with a hike to the 654-foot tall of Ancon Hill that overlooks Panama City. We enjoyed a fun day outside while we admired the beautiful view from the place where our national flag relies. This trip made us appreciate the diverse fauna and flora that inhabits natural areas in our country.

Remember to follow us on our Social Networks to get the latest news about our programs. Thank you!

Almost there!
Almost there!
On top of Ancon where our national flag is located
On top of Ancon where our national flag is located
Hurry up!
Hurry up!
Enlaces and the program coordinator
Enlaces and the program coordinator
Students from Nuestra Senora de la Merced
Students from Nuestra Senora de la Merced
 

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Organization Information

Fundacion Calicanto

Location: Panama City, Panama - Panama
Website: http:/​/​www.fundacioncalicanto.org
Project Leader:
Dalys Rodriguez
Panama, Panama
$20,286 raised of $23,000 goal
 
258 donations
$2,714 to go
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