After the beach cleaning, it was time for my own volunteering project to begin. I had a scheduled studio class for teaching workshops on Monday and Wednesday at 6:30.
I had local neighborhood kids coming to our house for breakdancing lessons on Tuesday at 4. I had scheduled sessions with kids from a Muslim male orphanage on Fridays, and sessions with a Muslim female orphanage on Thursdays. So I had at least one thing every day, which I thought was nice, that way I stayed busy. In terms of planning out all of these sessions, I am following a template in which I must describe the intention and goals of each session, how I will reach those goals, and how I will divide up the time of my session (all must be as specific as possible). Although I had my lesson plans completed for this week, I was still nervous to see who would show up to my studio session, and how those people would react to my class.
When I first arrived on Monday to the studio at which I would teach, I was delightedly surprised by the quality of the studio. It had a great sound system, and a great aura as well. People started flowing in, amounting to about 19 total. This was it. This first class would determine how the rest of the sessions would go. I took Sebastian’s advice. Be humble and have fun, you are sharing. So I led stretches, warm ups, an introduction to popping, and I taught the first 12 counts of a piece of choreography. The class went beyond anything than I could have expected. All participants, who were ranging in ages from 14 to 68, put so much attention and effort into the class. It was a really cool thing to watch. Some had experience in hip-hop, others had none, but that didn’t make a difference in how people were acting towards each other. It was a really positive vibe, and I was so happy to see the people accept what I had to share. Unfortunately, we were given the information very last minute that we would not be able to use the studio space anymore because the owner was deciding to close it for the rest of the summer. It was very frustrating news given the fact that Act Global had been in touch with the owner for over a month already, and she didn’t give us any signs of closing until just a few days before my first class. But, we will find another space.
Later in the week, I tagged along with our Act Global group to YAPPA Male, a Muslim male orphanage at which we volunteered. The current project at the orphanage was preparing a theater skit to perform at a future event. I only intended to be there to help out and take pictures. However, once the kids became aware of the fact that I danced, that’s all they wanted to see. So the session wound up turning into me teaching them breakdancing basics, and not the theater they were supposed to be learning. I felt bad about it, because it was not my time to teach, and I did not expect the kids to ditch the theater so quickly. As a result, we came to a conclusion to combine theater and hip-hop. After pitching the idea to the kids, they liked it a lot, so we went full speed. We wrote a short script that involved a conflict and a friendly resolution, incorporating a dance battle. I am excited to see how it will turn out.
I tried surfing this week for the first time with Alp, our Turkish volunteer and my roommate. It was a refreshing experience. The process came rather naturally to me, and the waves were not large. I was also given a very large beginner board to make things easier. Regardless, the new feeling of gliding over water with a wave was ethereal. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to wear anything over my chest, and once I got out of the water, I looked down and my stomach was all torn up from the grip on the board. You bet that next shower burned!
On the weekends I’ve been getting oriented with the club life with the rest of the Act Global group. When with the group, it’s definitely a fun time! With us there’s always a lot of dancing involved. We’ve gone to anything from hip-hop clubs to salsa clubs! However, I’ve noticed that there’s some discrimination between tourists and locals at clubs, especially in the more touristic places. There are several instances when locals are treated much worse compared to the tourists, which honestly tweaks me, especially because it is local people who are working at these clubs.