Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day Three in India

Today was good. My body is adjusting, so I am sleeping more. This is a great blessing!

Today began with teaching 2nd Standard. They were delightful! I tried to implement a new class structure since there were a few struggles yesterday (don't worry, Shaun. It's actually closer to what we've discussed). They worked very well. I feel very comfortable with the way class went. I also feel like I have offered the students something new (a bit of additional technique), but it was taught in a way that was fun and memorable. That afternoon, I worked with 1st Standard (one half). They also did well, and I was able to get even further with them than I did with 2nd Standard.

In between dance classes, I worked with a couple of teachers. We worked one on one so that I could help them to strategize and develop lesson plans that used a kinesthetic connection to their materials. Dance can be such a frightening word--especially when you have never danced in your life. It's even scarier when you are then asked to incorporate it into your lesson. I was so happy to help these teachers to understand that in their classrooms the "dance" element could be as simple as walking around the room. One of the teachers used a suggestion that I made today in her classroom. Later on, I asked her how classes were going. She said today was excellent because she used one of the ideas she had gotten from me. I was so pleased! This school is trying very hard to become a better learning facility. I'm so grateful to be a part of it. I'm even more grateful that I am here as an artist which allows me to model that dancers can be very intelligent people. Dancers are not thought of well, in Indian society. I am glad to help change that mistaken viewpoint.

The Life Dance Troupe was wonderful. Sadly, we had a number of students absent today. I think that I will have to begin taking roll. I'm not keen on the idea, but we need to know exactly who is there, and who is absent. I am very grateful for Katie and Shiloh (the last dance masters). I can tell that they worked hard with this little dance troupe. The kids still remember the routines, as long as I am leading. Because they remember, I am able to really focus on technique. Today we focused on reaching through our bodies, sending energy out, keeping our cores strong at all times, parallel vs turnout, and isolations. We also worked on stretching properly and on turning out our feet in our battements. Looking at all of that, I realize it was a busy day!

On a personal note, I am glad to see that the teachers are trusting me. Also, they seem to like me. I had one point out that I look like a fair-skinned Indian. I can't wait to put on a sari, and then see if I look like a local. Here is a list of things that I'm discovering about living here:
  • The rain is wam and wonderful
  • The grass is always green
  • There are LOTS of bugs. Dragonflies, butterflies, and other flying creatures are everywhere. Also ants and centipedes, though they're less scary here than at home. Maybe it's because the humans respect them.
  • "Super" is a very popular word. Children and adults are always using this word. It makes me smile
  • The soil is rich and I wish I knew more so that I could tell you how amazing it is in the proper terms.
  • I love to sleep with a blanket, even when I'm in a tropical jungle
  • I feel better when I do my own dance workout seperate from classes
  • My mind works in unusual ways
  • Keeping things basic does not mean keeping things easy. Often, the basics are more powerful and effective than the more complicated things. This is true in teaching techniques and in dance technique.
  • If I ever feel lonely, I just have to find work to do. When I am working, I feel better

Alrighty, that is all for now. I better head to bed. Hugs to all!


  1. You are teaching me so much, Jamie. Think of how many people you are reaching on two continents! You truly are a blessing.

  2. Hi Jamie!
    I think what you are doing is wonderful. By any chance do you know Katie Winder? She is one of my dear friends and taught dance this summer in India. Here is a link to her blog. She is now back in the USA, so perhaps you never met. Your experience reminded me of hers. I truly admire you for what you are doing. I can't wait to read and hear about all of your experiences.
    (Tara Kalama's younger sis)

  3. Lindsay, I totally know Katie Winder! She has volunteered for our company twice and she has been a HUGE asset to the program here in India. She's fabulous! How do you know Katie?