Uncaged Adventures

Panama update #1

Our team has been hard at work in the studio this week choreographing 6 new pieces to premiere in Panama. We're headed out tomorrow evening but will be having an in studio preview/time of send-off prayer tonight at Still Pointe Studios at 6:45 if you would like to join us. 

A few thank yous are in order before we take off as well.

Eleanor Rogers — for your gracious generosity of studio space.

Deanna Cunningham and Stacy Murphy — for keeping us fueled and healthy with delicious meals

Judy and Bruce Diaddigo — for letting us put our feet up at the lake for a day of relaxation. 

 

We've got several updates planned on the blog but if you want more, follow the #uncagedadventure hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. 

Uncaged Adventures

Meet the 2016 Uncaged Adventure team!

Hello Friends,

Our 2016 Uncaged Adventure is almost here! We can't believe this is our fourth year returning to Panama and we can't wait to see what's in store. Special thanks to everyone who bought a HOPE t-shirt — we were able to raise over $700 towards the trip. We've got some emails scheduled to go out during the trip but we wanted to introduce the team first. 

Maggie Boggs – A recent graduate of Cambridge High School, Maggie has been a supporter of Bluebird Uncaged for several years. She choreographed for Uncaged Christmas 2015 and is headed to Kennesaw State University next year to major in dance. 

Rebekah Diaddigo – founder of Bluebird Uncaged and dancer with the Proia Dance Project, Rebekah is excited to continue the relationships we have with our Panamanian friends. She recently choreographed Victoria Canal's City Shoes music video and teaches at the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education and Still Pointe Studios

Rachael Hulse – dancer with Verge Dance Company and Executive Director of Dance Waterloo in Austin TX, Rachael danced with us during the opener for Passion 2014 and this is her fourth adventure with Bluebird. She has a BFA in Dance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and teaches dance as well as barre fitness in the Austin area.

Daley Kappenman – a long time team member of Bluebird Uncaged, Daley is a freelance dancer in Atlanta. She's danced with the Proia Dance Project, City Gate Dance Theatre and can be seen in our White Umbrella video. She choreographed for Uncaged Christmas and also teaches in the Atlanta area

Mary Beth McDougal – a lover of hot tea and books, Mary Beth was in our very first project, the Beautiful Things video. She trained under Fiona Fairrie and was a trainee with Richmond Ballet. She also danced with Bluebird at Project Dance NYC 2015 and recently moved to Denver, NC. 

Kelle Diaddigo aka "Mama Bird" – though not a dancer she keeps us organized, costumed and fed. Kelle has been Bluebird's #1 fan since day one. 

Jessica Guda will also be choreographing for us!

We will be having a preview and prayer send off on June 14th and 6:45pm at Still Pointe Dance Studios— would love to have you join us. Be sure to follow the hashtag #uncagedadventure for the most recent updates. Honored to have you all behind us. 

Uncaged Adventures

Your Embrace

An Uncaged Adventure reflections post by Rachael Hulse

 

“Nothing compares to Your embrace” This was the lyric this past Sunday that initiated a small break in my heart, filled my eyes with tears. Why? I’ve noticed over the past two years that as I have surrendered more to Christ, more occasions bring me to tears. I think it’s because I am no longer numb, no longer dead, I am alive. Therefore, because I am alive, I am aware. Aware of the joy, the sorrow, the filling up, the draining of, the hope, the hopelessness, the yearning, and the redemption of this world and those that are part of it.

I was surprised by the brimming of tears, and so I asked God for a reason, “why was this particular lyric hitting me so hard?” He brought the image, the not so distant memory of all the orphaned children I had the honor of embracing and being embraced by while in Panama. At the first orphanage Bluebird visited, MetroAmigo, I think we all had a little hesitation about having physical contact with any children. Not because we didn’t want to, but because we are all accustomed to the U.S. mindset of “any physical contact with a child that is not related to you may be seen as inappropriate, so when in doubt, don’t.” Well, we had to retire that mindset pretty quickly because the children were ruthless. We were seen as jungle gyms, dance partners, airplane rides, human swings, basically, indestructible. Why were these children so intent on having physical contact with us? So unabashedly curious and vulnerable? How could they have this much joy? Weren’t they aware of their situation? Didn’t they know we were only going to be there for an hour? Why were they letting themselves get attached? What could I do to actually help them? What good were we doing? Dancing wasn’t actually something that could improve their situation. Or was it?

All of these questions floating around in my mind, too much to bear and be present in the moment, I gave them up to God. “Lord Jesus, your will, you know the reason we’re here, I don’t need to know it, I just need to know what You want me to do right now.” What was our purpose, our tangible mission? It was to dance. So I danced. I twirled little girls whose faces lit up as they spun, I twirled little boys who hadn’t yet been told they’re not supposed to enjoy that. I picked up and spun as many hands as I could hold. And I prayed. I prayed that they would know a God who would pick them up when they reached their hands high, that would hold out a finger and twirl them till they were dizzy and their faces ached from smiling, that they would rely on that same God to forever embrace them when the parent that should be is nowhere to be found.

“So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” ~1 Thessalonians 2:8

I am praying they know their worth not by this world’s standards but by the relationship that the God, most high, desires of and with them. 

Discovering one’s self worth is a difficult endeavor for any human in this world. It humbly, and powerfully begins in the affection we have from our earthly creators and caretakers; our parents. With that role empty, the leap to finding it in a God that is not of this world, that we cannot see, seems impossible. However, I don’t think Jesus came just to save us, He came to know us, and to let us know Him. He came to comfort, to heal, to listen, to understand, to be, with us. 

We couldn’t, can’t “save” every one, or even one of the beautiful orphaned children we met in Panama. What we could do was be with them. What we did do was dance with them and share countless laughs and smiles. What we will do is to continue praying for the children, the potential families, and that the government will continue to work towards uniting the two.

 

Heart's Cry Children's Ministry is doing amazing work to place the lonely in families in Panama. Click here to learn more.

Uncaged Adventures

Panama 2015 recap pt. 4

Friday we toured Casa Providencia, a former US Army Barracks currently under renovation through Heart's Cry Children's Ministry to be a home for special needs orphans. When fully finished, the home will provide these children with the care and therapy they need to prepare them for adoption and foster care. More information here.

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Saturday was the grand finale! We hosted and produced a collaborative show at Teatro Inida to highlight the work of Heart's Cry. It was so fun to bring the dance community together. Special thanks to Escuela de Danzas Teresa Mann, Studio 9, Movement Exchange, and Ballet Adorad and our 140 audience members. 

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This year's Uncaged Adventure was tops. Panama, you and your people are beautiful. Thanks for being on the journey with us dear blog readers. 

Uncaged Adventures

Panama 2015 recap pt. 3

Tuesday we were a bit touristy in Casco Viejo. We accomplished our goal of finding hammocks for Rachael and Jessica and may or may not have snuck into the Teatro Nacional before teaching that evening.

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Wednesday was busy. We started the day bright and early at Junto Podemos elementary school in Curundu. Then  headed to Malambo orphanage before the group split up for the evening, half of us teaching and half of us visiting the youth group at Crossroads Church. Busy but so fun. 

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Thursday, a few of us took class with Ballet Nacional de Panama. Then the whole team visited a young women's prison [Rebekah's thoughts here]. We taught that evening as well. 

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Part 4 and the conclusion of our adventure coming soon!