|Name: Andrea Chen
Home Address: Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
Dates in Nangi: June 2nd – June 15th, 2008 (approx.)
Taught dance (Western-styled jazz) to six local village girls, everyday for about 2 hours. They learnt a routine, which they performed for a few of the villagers at the end of my stay in Nangi.
LIST EQUIPMENT AND TRAINING MATERIALS
CD player (a Discman borrowed from the school)
Michael Jackson Greatest Hits CD, which I bought in Pokhara and left in Nangi
My goal for these dance classes was to introduce the children to a new style of movement, and also new music. I wanted to teach them a few basic jazz steps, which could be fused together into a short dance piece. The dance lessons themselves were very flexible. Don (one of the teachers) helped spread the word out to the local villagers about the dance classes, as the school was closed so there weren’t very many children around for me to tell. Occasionally a few other children would come join the class, but generally it was just six girls and I. Since the turn out was pretty small, I was able to tailor the classes more to their specific needs, and it made the classes more intimate. The girls would come in the mornings and we would start at around 9am and dance until they were tired (normally about 2 hours). Each class would include the same basic elements, (i.e., warm-up, across the floor, learning new steps and practicing old ones) and we would also continue to work on the routine. By the end of the two weeks, the girls performed a short routine to some of the villagers.
The girls were able to learn a new style of dance, and I think they all had a lot of fun. At first they were really shy and reserved, but they soon all got into the dancing, grew in confidence, and started really enjoying themselves. I was able to teach them a short routine, as they were very fast learners and naturally athletic, and they performed it to a few villagers at the end of my two weeks in the village.
I sincerely hope to return to Nangi in the future. I wish to have the opportunity to work in the school, as due to unfortunate timing, the school ended up being closed during my time there. Next time, I would love to spend more of an extended time period in the village, at least a couple months, so that I could teach more dance classes, involving a greater number of students, and put on a small production for the villagers, all in addition to helping out in the school, teaching classes. I think with more time and organization this would be a wonderful possibility.
PROJECT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE VOLUNTEERS
For any future volunteers that are trained in dance, I would totally recommend teaching your style of dance to them. The kids are enthusiastic, determined, and naturally talented. It is great fun, and extremely rewarding. Teaching any kind of art form I believe benefits the kids greatly, so any talent that you have, sharing it in some way would be great.