While South America is bathing in the summer sun, I find myself back in cold and cozy Europe reflecting on a beautiful journey through another part of the moving world. The importance of movement is even more clear to me now that I have visited countries where movement is all around. And to start of this new year I will share a few findings with you.
Movement connects people. In a hostel in Santiago, a bunch of people from all over the world were sitting in the backyard, talking about their countries and comparing cultural habits. Suddenly we started talking about dance and before I knew it, everybody was teaching dance moves from their own countries. In one night, I learned steps of the Samba and Forro from Brazil, Cueca from Chile and Chacarera from Argentina. Nobody was a professional, but we had so much fun and connected through dance.
Movement can happen anywhere. Who needs a professional studio to perform movement? Not the people in South America. After a long day of writing and visiting schools in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I walked back to my hostel and suddenly heard a loud banging of drums a few blocks down. On a basketball field, young female and male dancers were jumping and moving around at the sound of drums played by their friends. I later learned that they were practicing a traditional dance called Murga, which is usually performed during Carnaval in February. I loved watching them playfully rehearse, their enthusiastic and highly energetic practice certainly gave people walking by something to look at!
Everybody can move. There is a phrase I hear a lot in my home country and a lot of other western countries I have visited so far. ‘Dance? Not for me. I can’t dance, I just don’t know how’. Why is there so much shame and resistance in moving our bodies? In South America I did not experience this shame. For example: During a traditional Candombe on the streets of Uruguay, I’ve seen young people, old people, children, people with disabilities, people from all over the world move. Everybody was dancing in their own way, nobody judged another person, everybody was smiling, jumping around and connecting with people they had never seen before. The collective energy worked contagious and within an hour, the streets were packed with dancing people. A night to remember.
Moving is a lot easier when the sun shines. From yoga and tai chi in the park to capoeira on the beach. While we are inside hiding from the cold weather under a blanket on the couch, deciding if tonight will be the night we actually get up and go to that yoga or dance class, in South America you just have to step outside and the gorgeous weather, combined with the nicest people will make you move. And not just organized movement. I’ve seen people with headphones dancing at traffic lights and in the evenings or in the weekends everyone comes together to dance, inside and outside.
Movement is in OUR blood. We always say that people from South America are born with good moves. I believe we are all born to move. But the difference lies within the way we are raised. We stop moving as soon as we go to school and are told to sit still. The people in SA are just wise enough not to stop movement. Ever. And I believe we can learn so much from this. Everybody should move and it starts with children.
I recently stumbled upon these words and to me they represent the journey of Moving Educators:
The past two years have been about doing research, traveling around the world, finding the importance of movement and spreading the word. This year it’s time to spread our wings and give true meaning to Moving Educator’s beautiful logo. Many exciting new ideas ahead. Stay tuned while we (yes, it’s not just me anymore!) will reveal our next steps in the upcoming weeks! In the meanwhile, I wish you all a moving 2018.