Today I visited my last school on the final leg of this 3 city tour in Brazil. Did I enjoy myself? More than I can say. Do I feel as though my work was appreciated and respected? Yes, and with such grace and dignity that I can honestly say that I was an honor to visit the beautiful nation.
The school I just left, not more than an hour ago is called Lycée Pasteur. It is a French school based in São Paulo. “All” of the students are fluent in French. I was amazed at the level of fluency each and every child demonstrated. Our guide at the school explained that the majority of the children who attend Lycée Pasteur begin in preschool together and continue all the way through their high school graduation as one class. Impressive.
I performed for two groups of 11 and 12 year olds today. I had such an amazing time! The children were warm, inviting and so receptive.
I had a chance to not feel like a complete failure linguistically here in Brazil because I was able to communicate in French with the students.
While I was performing for the second group of children, I couldn’t help but to notice a young girl who kept mimicking my movements. I have a tendency to appear to dance when I tell stories. Ah… who am I kidding? I love animating words and emotions and it comes so naturally that I dance while telling tales, and I love it! Every small gesture and movement I made, the young girl was right there with me. She was seated all the way in the back row, but I noticed here easily. I was intrigued because she didn’t appear to be joking, she was actually enjoying my unrehearsed choreography.
When the session ended, before dismissing the children, I made a point of letting her know that I was aware of her copying “my style.” Everyone laughed. I pointed directly at here and the sea of children parted because they knew who I was talking about. I said to her in front of the entire group, “You like the way I move don’t you?”
The child nodded in affirmation and then I put out a challenge, “Come dance with me then!”
I was surprised when the little girl jumped from her seat in the back row, navigated past her peers and was standing before me in no time flat.
What was I going to do? I just knew she would refuse. Well… I am no coward so I did what any man would do.
I took her hand into mine, placed her other hand on my shoulder and instructed the audience to sing a song that I had taught them earlier.
I wish I could remember her name. This child’s courage was inspirational. Not only was she dancing with me but she was clearly able to enjoy herself in front of more than 70 or so of her peers. I love children like this, they remind me of why I do what I do.
When we ended our little ballet I made sure to end with a dip. She loved it, I loved it, the entire group loved it!
As she returned to her seat, her peers cheered and applauded her loudly.
Then I dismissed the children they came running down the lecture hall from their chairs straight at me. It was a sea of excited adolescence careening straight for me. There was hugs and hand shakes happening all over the place. I must have done my job well because there didn’t appear to be a single soul in the auditorium who wasn’t offering some gesture of appreciation.
This was a wonderful way to end my tour here in Brazil.