Friday, August 3, 2012

Prague 2012

     It has been awhile since my last post, a little over a month to be exact. I have wanted to write about my experience in Prague and Vienna for some time now but honestly, I didn't know how to start. Maybe you'll finish reading this, or quit while you're ahead, and realize that you have no idea what I am talking about. That's okay. Rest assured that my 10 days in Europe were some of the most memorable to date. 

     The New Prague Dance Festival 2012 had groups from Australia, Belgium, Italy, South Africa, Turkey, Panama, Israel, Lithuania, and USA. We took classes and danced with people that could barely speak with us because of the language barrier. We went with a goal to win the Grand Prix award and we did it! We also won The Friendliest Team award. We visited a concentration camp in Mauthausen, Austria and toured a royal palace.(PS the hills really are alive with the sound of music in Austria. Absolutely gorgeous!) We ate a lot of yummy gelato :) We went with the hope that we could share our hearts and our spirits with anyone who saw us dance. That by watching us dance, no matter the religious affiliation or background of others, they could feel our love for our Heavenly Father who had blessed us with this special gift.

     My favorite thing about this competition was that there was no tension between groups. The focus seemed to be on showcasing and sharing our talents and I felt relaxed and calm. It was so cool to see how different cultures view dance and how they choose to lace their belief system in the numbers being performed. Everyone was encouraging and loving. At a time in the world where sad things are happening every day, this was a safe space. Everyone was on equal ground and the movement transcended everything else going on outside of our dance bubble. Were there some numbers that I didn't understand or thought were a little odd? Yes. But I think there is a little weirdness in all of us that can relate to everyone else's weirdness in one way or another. 

     More than anything, this experience renewed my love for dance. Being with girls that I adore, dancing with them, laughing, joking, crying, being humbled, and uplifted with them was a joy. Something that I will always cherish and remember. I am so grateful that I was able to be apart of this team for 3 years. I am so grateful for the way my testimony has grown because of the spiritual nature of the team and inspiration of the girls. Most importantly, I am so grateful for my relationship with my Savior and for how experiences like this have brought me closer to Him. I knew after this year it was my time to be done and for someone else to have these experiences. Going to Prague was the cherry on top of the delicious treat that is Cougarettes.

Pics from the trip 

Cougs 2011-2012. For the 4th of July we dressed up and wore red lipstick. It's the little things that make us happy :)

At Karlstein Castle  
Sam and I in our patriotic get up. 
"Good friends help you to find important things when you have lost them... Your smile, your hope, and your courage."

-  Doe Zantamata 

Modern poses at Shonbrunn Palace in Austria 

“Someone need not be perfect to be a great dancer –
feeling a soul is more important than what the body can do.”

- Marcia Haydée

The best form of sunscreen is an umbrella. So I found. 

on stage
Come Thou Fount

“Music is the language of the soul,
dance is the language of the body.
Body and soul, music and dance conceive an instrument
of expression through which the spirit communicates.”

- Maestro Hector Zaraspe
Indestructible with our tour guide Vladimir
Awards ceremony
Taking Class  
Learning the art of theatrical make up  
The Dancing House. I feel like this would be the Weasley's house if they were very wealthy. 
John Lennon Wall in Prague
Favorite quote on the wall

Mauthausen Concentration Camp 

Favorite memorial

Straight up tourist

Not from theatrical make up class. That is real life. 

The Jewish Quarters

curly heads

Attending church in Prague.
"Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world." 

-Teresa of Avila