Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lessons Learned

Today I returned from Philadelphia, where I trained with Shaun Parry, president of Promethean Spark. It was my first chance to meet Shaun face-to-face, and I have to say it was so great to finally meet him in person. Shaun's passion for this work is tangible, and it helped me recognize how much I share that same passion.

For my training, we worked in the rehearsal rooms of walnut street theater, which happens to be America's oldest theater.

Shaun is currently performing in a show at this theater, so it was a convenient location for our training.

The first day of training, I was pretty nervous. I wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into, but I was ready to hit the ground running, and boy, we did! Each day we danced and discussed for several hours, making sure I understood the dance methodology and the corresponding life skills that are essential to the work of Promethean Spark. What I love about the Promethean Spark methodology is that it is an application of many of the concepts I've been studying for the last 3 years in my Masters in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling. I think Shaun appreciated my background in dance therapy, because I grasped the concepts that he was trying to convey fairly readily, and it helped the training progress move rapidly.

On Tuesday, Shaun invited people from his cast as well as others from the community to attend a "beginner/intermediate jazz class," as an opportunity for me to see the methodology being applied in a class setting. We had a wide range of dancers show up for the class, which was awesome! We had a couple of individuals who had never attended a dance class in their lives, and a couple of people who were professional dancers all in the same class. The great thing about the methodology is that people with all different levels of dance experince can participate and be challenged by it. At the end of the class, a couple of the students made some amazing comments. One participant explained how she was feeling irritable before the class started and was planning to sit out and observe. In the end she decided to participate. She struggled through the class, because the exercises were very challenging for her, but with the motivation that she found from the methodology in action, she pushed through and never gave up. In the end, she described how joyful and energized she felt once the class was over. Another girl stated at the end of the class, "I've never felt so inspired on so many levels in an hour and a half." I believe in this stuff, but I was still blown away at how powerful of an impact the methodology had on these participants.

In addition to all the training, I got to have a bit of fun too. I got to spend some time with my good friend, Eric who just moved to Philly, and his cool roommates. I also got to attend Shaun's show. After Shaun's show (after having spent all day dancing hard in training) we decided to go out swing dancing, and it was a blast! What can I say, I love to dance. I apparently can't get enough.

I'm now back in Atlanta. Tomorrow is my last full day in the states before I head to India. It's really here. This training in Philly has inspired me more than ever, and I'm ready to head out and change a small corner of the world for the better.

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