Well it happened, I gave myself a “day off” (still have some things to take care of) and I got the pukies. I feel like I probs just ate something bad or had bad water or something. I am starting to feel better though so no big concern. Think it was just my body’s way of saying you will NOT be productive today haha. It has been a long week indeed.

There was a holiday this week on Wednesday so I had a makeup day for classes on Monday. It seemed like pretty much everyone had a particularly awful day. Nothing was getting done, the kids were off the walls, cars breaking, people bailing, money stolen, etc. Not all happening to me it was just all around tense. Which made me feel a bit better that it wasn’t just me to be honest.

Tuesday was a regular day and a huge improvement. The kids were understanding concepts and attentive and demonstrating good work all around. This week we were working on believing in ourselves. They definitely demonstrated confidence and dedication through their movements. It was very refreshing after Monday.

Wednesday we had extra rehearsals because the kids had nothing else to do and we thought we would take advantage. The morning was dedicated to the traditional dances which seem to be coming along. There is apparently some minor ballet section which is interesting because we don’t really focus on that type of technique here. I have tried to help alter the material a bit, as always hope we get to practice enough to polish it up, since they only seem to be interested in learning the steps of the older girls. Conclusion: find time for separate rehearsal. ah but when….project for me this week.

I ended up having Life Dance for 3 hours on the holiday! We needed a solid two to really make some headway on cleaning and learning new material after our warmup. Plus I am looking forward to hopefully having a house-mother with us this week to cut down the chatting. There have been markable behaviour differences all around, the chit chat in between dancing is the last crucial piece of the puzzle. Just have to be persistent with it and help them understand the magnitude of the work they are doing. They are truly pioneers and have great things coming to them if they are able to pick up the momentum 🙂

After rehearsal I had them come to the elephant house where I could use the internet and have them watch videos. I realized that they pretty much just see native dance and what we do with them. But to see various styles and levels of performance was something new. Since we are trying to work on some stylized pieces, we have been talking a lot about how to be an affective performer. We have discussed how our bodies are capable of telling various stories and becoming different characters, seeing it made it so much clearer for them. Next week, I have plans to video them and have them watch and give their own feedback on how they can do more. Because you can always reach a little further each day.

Thursday I could tell the kids were exhausted from exams but still we managed to move ahead. I was proud of them for their persistence and commitment. Especially bc I felt like I had not stopped yet and was in dire need of their cooperation.

Friday I had my first opportunity to go to Moot. What a high-spirited and fun colony. It is very small, but you can tell the people are close and actually have some sense of community. Almost instantly I was swooped into a lesson by one of the patients and learning many of his dance moves. Everyone came out and was happy to watch. Some of them joined briefly but would get embarrassed or die off, but there was much more involvement overall. Even this one man, blind and nearly deaf with no fingers or feet, was told that we were dancing and joined in with his own steps. It’s definitely the closest we have gotten to a group class so it was awesome for me to see that there is potential. there is always potential 🙂

I got back to find out that my class was not happening because some group of lawyers had come to play games with the kids, so we rescheduled for saturday. I spent a bit of time trying to catch up on documentation and figure out schedule changes and planning class material. Soon it was time to be at open class and running around to coordinate more things for saturday. 6 am saturday came all to quickly for another looooong day of rehearsals amidst Parent’s day. Probably not the most productive idea I’ve had but you take what you can get lol. The day was spent dancing my aching booty off, meeting parents, running around to catch teachers, re-evaluating choreo, running around some more, dancing again, and finding time with the kids I was helping write little talks for the Marriott performance. That entails people from the Marriott coming on December 9 for a cultural event which equals dance. So for some of the groups that only leaves us two weeks to have things wrapped up enough for a showing. eek.

I have to say though, being around on Parent’s day was intense. Not just with the schedule and amount of people, but getting a deeper understanding of where these kids come from.

For example, One of the Life Dance students, Megala (a reoccurring genius) was asked if her parent’s were coming and she said…No it is expensive, so they will not come. If my parents had money and then they did not come, then I would be sad. But it cost 100 rupees, what am I to do.

This is from the same girl I was writing with later that day and found out she came to the school four years ago not knowing any English or what her teachers had been teaching her up until that point. She now aspires to be a doctor and help the world and feels she now has the opportunity and resources to do so.

Krishnamoorty was also writing with me on Saturday and I found out that he too did not understand a thing that the teacher he had in his government school was trying to teach as they did not explain any of the concepts. He told me about his greater understanding of education and about how much he loves to dance and is happy to be part of a group such as life dance because he knows others look up to them.

These are the stories you get to hear when they are at school and taught to flourish and it became shockingly clear for me yesterday how much better off these children were despite how far some of them live from home. In some cases home itself can hold them back as many of the parent’s demonstrated yesterday by discussing their children with Celina. Many of them cannot read and therefore need to be held back to catch up with the rest of their class. Not surprising from the schools they are coming from. And yet their parents rant about the dishonor their 6-year-old has brought to their family. For those that have learning disabilities, you hear that they should be beaten more and that is the only way they will learn. Clearly hitting creates intelligence. There is a no hitting policy for the teachers at the school but almost anywhere else it is completely valid and common. Not to mention these parents are telling the principal to beat their children and that they do so in their homes. social services does not exist. it is totally open and a way of life. I am happy to know that Celina has been working hard to instill a tutoring program for the kids instead of whatever consequences they would be victim to elsewhere. And it makes me so proud of them to hear them say all of these amazing things about their futures and aspirations because of our work in dance after many times being degraded their entire existence.

In fact, one father who is not supposed to come to the school showed up yesterday. It is one of the housemother’s husband who has two children at the school. She brought them here after she left her husband who had beaten her for 12 years and is a complete drunk and has unstable mood swings. I guess there was an agreement that he could see the kids for a little bit but only with the utmost supervision. The housemother had gotten as many people of authority to stay with them because she was afraid the father would take the two boys. How awful. I guess it was made extremely clear to him that he cannot return for 3 months, but we’ll see how that goes down. All in all parents day is definitely not the donut hole and coffee get together to check out your child’s finger painting skills like it is at home.

On that note….I think I am going to sleep of the rest of this bug so I can be revved up and kicking in the morning! much work to do as always.

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