Throughout our time in Spain we had the opportunity to meet so many people from all around the world. From Mexico, Poland, Bulgaria, and of course Spain, we were able to meet so many amazing people and make so many amazing connections. We didn’t all speak the same language, many of them didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak many of their languages. So relying on the power of song and dance, we were able to connect through different aspects.
The Polish team, we met at our third festival, and many of them spoke at least a little bit of English. They seemed to be on a similar wavelength as us, being loud and outgoing. We connected with them really quickly both with just playing instruments, and our band trying to join in, or when we were on the streets waiting to start a parade and so we decided to ask them to show us some of their dance tricks and then they asked to learn some of ours.
We got to know a lot of their names and became really close with many of them. When I learned how to say hello and goodbye I would often say this to them, even the ones who didn’t speak much English (Google translate was a lifesaver!) they would brighten up as I was trying to speak their language. One of the women who was mostly a singer and I were talking, as she was one who had lived in the US and often was a spokesperson for her teammates. I mentioned the Bulgarian song that I had learned and how they seemed to both yip and it’s a very difficult type of sound to make. I then yipped for some of them on their team, and they were really flattered I was trying to learn their music accurately.
The biggest thing gift that I feel we were able to give the Polish team, to thank them for the friendships they’d formed with us, was a song. When traveling on our team we often learn songs in the language of the country that we are going to. So we knew quite a few songs in Spanish, however, our director had gone to Poland a few years prior and wanted to sing one of the songs we had learned in Spanish, but in Polish just for them. The joy on their faces as they recognized the sound of their language was delightful, they even said they understood the whole thing and our pronunciations were great. At the end of that night we all hugged and thanked them for being so kind and friendly over the couple weeks we had spent together. That last night was spent packing and trying on each others’ costumes. I got to wear a traditional Polish dress and their team got to dress up liek cowboys and cowgirls. It was a whole lot of fun.
There were many other amazing moments that I can’t even begin to delve into, however, it was such an amazing opportunity. Dancing Polish dances on the streets with real Polish people, to wearing their traditional clothing, hearing their language, and becoming their friends. It was truly a magical experience. We are still in contact to this day, we even have a group chat, and while it’s not as active as it once was, we still have those connections across the world and know that someday as we said in our song “till we meet again”.