Children
 Panama
Project #8753

At Risk Children Dance for Social Change

by Fundacion Calicanto
Vetted
Dance classes
Dance classes

Panama’s summer season goes from January to April; most children are on school vacation and usually enjoy days in the pool and other outdoor activities due to the good weather.

The children from the community we serve don’t usually have opportunities to enjoy a safe summer with recreational activities; instead they are forced to wander the streets and usually end up spending their time with adults who expose them to topics inadequate for their age.

For that reason, this summer the Enlaces children had the opportunity to continue to train in Contemporary Dance with their teachers and they also received master classes from two very renowned US dancers, Kellee Blanchard and Robert Mills.

They also had Art classes where they began working on their self-portrait with the acrylic technique; they had Psychology workshops where they learned the differences between materialistic possession and personal accomplishments.

Every Friday they participated in different fieldtrips: they rode bikes in a road by the ocean, they visited the Miraflores Visitor Center from the Panama Canal and a Science and Art Museum for Children called Explora. The Enlaces kids summer program ended with a big swimming pool party, sponsored by the generous donation of swimming goggles and cap by Ben Betesh International from the brand SPEEDO, plus the cooperation of several people in the community with towels for the kids.

Painting our Self-Portrait
Painting our Self-Portrait
At the Miraflores Visitor Center, Panama Canal
At the Miraflores Visitor Center, Panama Canal
Master Class with Kellee Blanchard & Robert Mills
Master Class with Kellee Blanchard & Robert Mills
Our day at the pool
Our day at the pool
Eli dreaming in the pool
Eli dreaming in the pool
Splash!
Splash!

Links:

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:

 

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Organization Information

Fundacion Calicanto

Location: Panama City, Panama - Panama
Website: http:/​/​www.fundacioncalicanto.org
Project Leader:
Dalys Rodriguez
Panama, Panama
$20,186 raised of $23,000 goal
 
251 donations
$2,814 to go
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