Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Theater and Dance

Harper doing her favorite stretch- the "rock your leg like a baby" stretch

La Academia

Harper and her ballet teacher

Our timing for finding kid activities and classes in Santiago wasn't great, arriving just as school was wrapping up and Christmas time was nearing.  Finally the summer sessions have begun here and we found Harper a few classes for last week and the week after this.
She started a theater class on Monday/Wednesday and ballet Tuesday/Thursday and she was beaming from ear to ear after each one.  She even convinced Danny that she should try the Flamenco dance class after theater on Thursday and she loved that, too.  (apparently she did not inherit her dance abilities (or lack there of) from me or Danny.)  
Since leaving Ecuador we have noticed Harper is missing social interactions with kids her age.  She doesn't complain about it or talk about it much, but often she subtly brings up names of kids in Carbondale and wonders what they are up to.  In Ecuador she had the kids at the farm and at the hostel in Quito she had Tomas.  Since then her play interactions have just been random times at the park or at restaurants. She has surprised us with her gumption- she always walks over to kids at the sandbox, asking in her quiet Spanish if they want to play, but we are really happy to have found these classes.  It feels different having her enrolled in a class with a group of kids that she feels she belongs to.  And it is special to her to have something that Cal does not attend.
The teachers for all the classes seem great.  Although I'm sure they are not trained in language acquisition theory(!), we peaked in and saw them incorporating a variety of strategies to help her understand the Spanish and the different activities.  In theater class they played a bunch of games about emotions and sang silly songs with actions.  Harper said she understood most of what was going on and when she didn't she just "smiled and sort of did what they did."  A good life lesson, for sure. In ballet obviously, there is less language to understand and so she was really focused on the postures and movements.  She came home Thursday night and taught Cal all kinds of steps and ways to "be a ballerina."  

Danny did the research online to find the classes and after locating the dance studio, we stumbled upon the Almecén de Cuentos next door, our new favorite spot.  It houses a small space for kids classes (that is where the theater class meets) and it has a cafe, book-room and sandbox.  One night last week we spent two hours there sipping smoothies and coffees and playing and reading.  It is one of those places that has a specialness to it- with its brightly painted walls, old well-loved furniture, blue and yellow ceramic tile floor.  We'd love to transport it back to Carbondale with us.  The dance studio feels the same- it's in a beautiful old building with shiny hardwood floors, whitewashed walls and gleaming mirrors all around.  In true Harper form she loves the mirrors. 
Almecén de Cuentos

Indoor sandbox!

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