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Photo by Tom Pablo, South America Semester.

Instructor Introduction – Hola amigos!

Hello my dear Dragons friends!!!

I am Ana Salazar and I live in the city of El Alto in Bolivia.  First of all, I would like to say that I am so happy and excited to be part of the Dragons instructor team for this fall course!

For me, Dragons is an amazing way to learn, share, feel and see the world.  It allows you to get to know people in a different way. I think Dragons is a big family with all kinds of mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters and many, many children from all over the world, and I think that this is truly wonderful.

I would like to tell you a little about my home. The city of El Alto, where I live and work, is very interesting. We are 4000 meters (more than 13,000 feet) above sea level, making us one of the highest cities in the world. El Alto is wonderful. The richness of this city, which is home to many indigenous people, lies in its amazing culture. We are surrounded by the Andes. For us these mountains are sacred and are seen as guides who protect and nurture every single inhabitant of this place.

Now I will tell you about the work I do here in El Alto. I have been working for Compa (Comunidad de Productores en Artes) and Teatro Trono for over 19 years as an artist and teacher. The Arts Producers’ Community (COMPA) is a joint venture, a community of artists at work for the last 22 years. COMPA strives to ensure that art and culture are an integral part of daily life. We focus on local development and personal/social transformation. We’re constantly working to maintain and build ideals around participation, community based democracy and solidarity. COMPA is one of Bolivia’s most influential organizations involved in the representation of popular arts and culture. We are dedicated to innovation and to the nurturing of future generations of artists who through their work, as well in their daily lives, will represent the values that inspire them.

COMPA emerged from the Teatro Trono (Throne Theatre) educational arts project. Its origins can be traced to La Paz, Bolivia in 1989. During this time street kids previously in the care of a state run rehabilitation centre which they called Trono, took part in an arts project initiated by Iván Nogales Bazan. After all these years Ivan is still very active in the project and currently holds the position of director of COMPA. Later community based projects, particularly in the town of El Alto, inspired young people to follow new directions. Currently we work to strengthen the skills and abilities of vulnerable children and teens as well as encourage the ideas of volunteer work and the importance of forming partnerships. By promoting decentralized working methods, our strategy is participative, inclusive, wide-reaching and inspirational. We have seen that theater can enrich and transform societies. I am part of this big dream, and I am very excited to share this, and other parts of my home country with you!  Dragons has been partnering with COMPA for many years, and that is how I came to know this organization.  

Bolivia and Perú have incredibly deep and complex histories. These ancient and wise civilizations can teach us so much. We Dragons get to discover and explore these magical places together!

I worked this past summer as an instructor here in Bolivia with Dragons and let me tell you that it was such an enriching experience for me…Why? Because of all the things that I mentioned before. Also because making this kind of trip as a Dragon, is a totally different way to learn. You see, feel, taste, experience the world in a completely new way. We will live this experience with our whole body, with our five senses.

See you very soon!!!!

Les mando un abrazo con el poder de los Achachilas!!! (sacred mountains)

With love,

Ana