From the land that brought you "Despacito", "Livin' la vida loca" and more booty-shaking songs than you can dance to in a lifetime: Make Puerto Rico Dance Again.
On September 20, we were struck by the most destructive hurricane to have set foot on the island in around a hundred years. But this is probably old news to you... the destruction, the floods, the lack of electricity... what you might not know is the impact this has had on a deeper level than news bites can show.
For the past month I have watched my dance colleagues, students, family members, peers and strangers battle with a kind of hurricane PTSD. Behind the visible destruction are the invisible scars.
And they run deep. The lost hopes and dreams, the lost jobs and businesses, the despair, the fear, the anxiety brought on by what seem like insormountable odds. And yet... and yet, there is hope. The only way to move on is to MOVE.
Help us to actually do that. Get moving, get dancing, remember what it means to be alive and not just surviving. Join us in being a part of a broader community effort to bring sanity and healing in a time of utmost need.
For the past year we've been planning a dance festival, Raks Caribe, to take place in Puerto Rico November 17-19. Against all odds we have managed to relocate the event, reach everyone and also have a team of dancers coming to Puerto Rico and willing to bring much necessary items, joy and sisterhood. We want to be able to carry on with the festival and use it as a platform for physical, emotional and spiritual relief. Your money will be invested in the following ways:
-Partial and full scholarships to students in need.
-Buying food, water, and necessary items that dancers from abroad can bring. We have a group of dancers coming from the US that have volunteered to bring things to PR. Since getting things here has proven to be one of the main challenges in recovery efforts this is a great opportunity to directly deliver things to those in need here on the island.
-Cover luggage fees and shipping expenses for the items that are being brought to the island. What the Raks Caribe production will give:
- For scholarship purposes we will hold the early bird price valid. The regular price for all workshops is $245. The early bird price is $185. This means that for every $185 a full scholarship will be awarded to a dancer in need. This will cover all workshops and conference. A full weekend of dance and dance sisterhood.
-We will organize a delivery of food, water and items on Tuesday 21 after the festival so that those dancers that want to join in relief efforts can do so and we can deliver promptly the goods received.
-We will organize a show at a nursing home or refugee center on Friday 17 in place of our welcome party to bring dance, art and joy to a place that needs it. Recovery is a multilayered effort. A human is not made only of food and water. A human being also needs connection, joy, beauty, a sense of community that can inbue life with meaning. Dance can do this. This festival can do this. And you can be a part of it.
Thank you for caring. Thank you for standing up and taking action. Thank you for dancing with us.
It means the world.
Photo taken during a photoshoot in preparation for the Festival featuring some of the students and organizers of the event. All have since faced losses during Maria and it's aftermath.