Children
 Panama
Project #8753

At Risk Children Dance for Social Change

by Fundacion Calicanto
Vetted

Cristhian is 9 years old and currently lives in one of the most dangerous communities in Panama City.

Cristhian joined us on July 15, 2013 after he auditioned for the program at his local school. As part of the program requirements, the social worker visited his home and found that Cristhian is labeled as a problem child by many of the people who know him. His behavior was so troublesome that in October, school officials decided that it would be best for him to continue his studies from home with assigned learning modules. He was to report to school on Fridays for his physical education class and to turn in assignments.

The Enlaces team did not approve of the action taken by the school officials; not only was it unnecessary to put him out of school but the learning material the teachers had provided was in deplorable conditions. Katty, our social worker, visited the school several times and spoke to nearly all of the officials at the school until he was reinstated.

With more treatment, we realized that Cristhian’s problem came from several sources, including bullying, need for attention and love, as well as an eye problem, which didn’t let him study or focus. 

Through a Facebook call for a donation that would help us get Cristhian reading glasses, we were able to test him and buy him a pair of new glasses. The smile on Cristhian’s face is unforgettable to the entire team. The pair of sunglasses helped his self-esteem and his maturity level in school. He was paying attention and doing his homework, which made his mother very happy.

We have started to provide therapy sessions for him and his mother, he is receiving the full benefits of the program: a healthy meal, dance and theater classes,  and a drawing and painting class by a volunteer and academic tutor.

The smile on Cristhian’s face motivates us all to do this work. His behavior changed radically after only a couple of months with the Enlaces program.

Thanks to you, we can provide these opportunities to kids like Cristhian, if you didn’t follow our work and donate as you do, this wouldn’t be possible.

Let Cristhian’s smiling face motivate you to continue to support Enlaces.

Happy New Year!

Jose (right), 13, in Hansel and Gretel
Jose (right), 13, in Hansel and Gretel

 These past few months have been full of exposure for our kids in Enlaces. From August 14th to August 17th, two of our best students were part of the cast of the show “Hansel & Gretel”, directed by the renowned Spanish choreographer Fernando Hurtado. Eight performances in Panama City’s National Theatre showed the public and us that our kids are ready to show the world what they love to do, and they do it marvelously!

 Also, at the end of August, the kids of Enlaces had their “End of term” presentation in our premises, with a full house. The program consisted of a 15 minute play, two ballet demonstrations and three contemporary dance pieces, that they had been working with their teachers for the last three months.

 As much as they enjoy the process of creation and execution, showing their work and their efforts is as important for us as for our little artists. It is an opportunity for the community, their families and their peers to get involved in their work and provide feedback, recognition and bonding that reinforce their talent and self-expression. 

Joameth, in the front in Hansel and Gretel
Joameth, in the front in Hansel and Gretel
Acting as toys during their play
Acting as toys during their play
Ballet barre demonstration
Ballet barre demonstration
Contemporary dance piece
Contemporary dance piece
Our kids (with white shirts) at the audition
Our kids (with white shirts) at the audition

Last May, six of our kids were chosen to represent Enlaces’ talent in the open audition for Hansel & Gretel, a contemporary dance and theatre approach to the Grimm’s Brothers classic, directed by the internationally recognized Fernando Hurtado and produced by Momentum, one of Panama’s most successful dance companies.

Three of our kids were casted between approximately 110 of the best professional and pre-professional dancers who auditioned for this performance. Rehearsals will begin on July 15th and the show will run the last week of August.  This is a great opportunity for our kids to show their talent and to feel the magic of performing for an audience in a professional context.

Two of our boys during the audition
Two of our boys during the audition
Concentration is key!
Concentration is key!
Three of our kids in white (far right)
Three of our kids in white (far right)

Links:

Teacher Assistants to a class for Aprojusan
Teacher Assistants to a class for Aprojusan

Roderick 13, and Reyes 12, (the two young kids at the front) for the first time become Teacher Assistants for a Contemporary Dance class to their peers from our neighbor NGO: APROJUSAN. Roderick and Reyes are two of the oldest kids in Enlaces and have proved themselves to not only have the technical discipline to set an example, but also to show commitment, responsibility and passion worth to inspire kids their age and older.

 

On the following video, we see Reyes again with his partner Ginger, presenting a duo they created by themselves. They were assigned a specific music and allowed 20 minutes to create a piece together. The result was an innocent display of how advanced they are in creating a piece that reinforces aspects such as coordination, communication, respect to the partner’s body and physicality and synergy. Reyes and Ginger are also from the first group that began Enlaces in 2010.

Ginger and Reyes
Ginger and Reyes' sequence 1
Movement by Ginger and Reyes
Movement by Ginger and Reyes

Links:

Kids say "Gracias!"
Kids say "Gracias!"

On December 4th, the Theatre Guild of Ancon, a historic community theatre established in 1950, was the perfect stage for the kids of the Enlaces Program of Fundación Calicanto to make their debut. The end of the year show was called “Un Pequeño Gran Equipo”, The Great Small Ensemble, name chosen by these little artists to portray how much greatness they can give to the artistic world, even though they are young and beginning their paths as performers. This was their very first exclusive performance, where some kids had never even been inside a theatre nor performed in front of an audience. Backstage they were uneasy, excited by their costumes, the theatre lights and the whispering of the audience coming in.

The show was a brief manifestation of this restless creative energy that Calicanto wants the community to know and promote. It was a collective work between the students and their teachers and within themselves. The movements and concepts were proposed by the kids, organized in five acts of contemporary dance, silent theatre and experimental performance (one solo and four group pieces).

We end the year with this wonderful performance and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Group dance
Group dance
Joameth solo performance
Joameth solo performance
Table and chair show
Table and chair show
 

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Organization Information

Fundacion Calicanto

Location: Panama City, Panama - Panama
Website: http:/​/​www.fundacioncalicanto.org
Project Leader:
Dalys Rodriguez
Panama, Panama

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