Lucas’ and Penny’s last regional competition and the first all team competition, all three teams took the stage and all three teams supported each other as Creative Dance Center took home a lot of top placements.
The Guna, at 60,000 members, represents the largest indigenous group in Panama and populate the 360 islands in the San Blas archipelago and the narrow strip on the Caribbean coast of Panama and Columbia. A traditionally matriarchic society women support the community by making and selling molas.
Geometric patterns have been used for body painting since ancient times. After the arrival of the Spanish and access to fabric the Guna transferred their motifs onto textiles creating the molas. Molas are hand-made, multi-layered cotton panels with complex designs achieved through applique, reverse-applique and embroidery. Las molas naga are panels with a protective power for the woman that wears them. They are characterized by abstract, geometrical designs inspired by nature. Molas can also be designed with figural representations and scenes of everyday life.
While in Panama we visited Museo de la Mola which gave us a great perspective on the history, meaning and beauty of the molas.
The American Trade Hotel’s building dates back to 1917 and was the headquarters for the American Trade Developing Company. At the time it was the first skyscraper in Panama. After World War II, the neighborhood started its decline and by the 1970s the building was abandoned and vandalized. Before being bought by a development firm in 2007, it was the headquarters of the Pentágono gang. The abandoned building used to be a crack house called “Castillo de Greyskul”. Some of the old gang members have been rehabilitated and work in the hotel.
This kid won a Team Vibe Scholarship, an Artistry Scholarship from David Moore, scored multiple Vibe Awards for his team routines and placed in the top 20 of Senior soloists out of over 100. But before all of that I enjoyed an uninterrupted 3 hour and 30 minute car ride listening to music and catching up with my son. And between all of that we both enjoyed countless laughs and celebrations with our dance family.
We walked so many streets yet there are so many we didn’t. We enjoyed so many delicious bites yet I dream of the bites we did not. Our days and bellies were full, no minute spared, yet there is always more to be enjoyed, to be seen at dusk and dawn, to be tasted in the morning and night.
Each family vacation is different. Not only with the changing of destinations but the changing of the kids. No two experiences will ever be the same.
Our trip to Panama was seven days, three hotels, the city and the beach, three bags and five backpacks. I didn’t need candy to distract them or false promises to bribe them, I didn’t hear moans of tired feet and legs or field endless questions of what was coming next. They were simply travelers, experiencing the new. They took each new experience as it came; hearing, smelling, tasting and seeing everything, drawing comparison to what was familiar and identifying what was new. They took the discomfort of being in a new country and not knowing the language and embraced it for the adventure that it is.
When we travel we come with expectations, plans, baggage, we leave behind routine, responsibilities and stress and we hope for renewal, fun and lifelong memories. This trip we came away with a newfound understanding that our kids have benefitted practically and spiritually from all our travels. We have left an indelible mark and planted the seeds of appreciation and gratitude of this wide, wide world.