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Two Dragons welcome the sunrise with an improvised dance atop the Andes. Photo by Ryan Gasper.

[email protected] [email protected]! – Instructor Introduction

Hola amigos y amigas!

My name is Ana, I live in Bolivia, in the city of El Alto at 4,200 meters above sea level, I work in COMPA (Community of Producers in Arts) and I am part of the theater group Teatro Trono. Teatro Trono was born 28 years ago with children who were living on the streets and who managed to re-find themselves through art and managed to recover their self-esteem, identity, and their rights by creating collective works of theater that touched on the reality they were living. The theater group was growing, and now there are many more young men and women who are part of the group and continue to fight through art to transform the society in which they live. Art is a trigger to become critical and analytical people. Above all, it helps them be sensitive, capable of questioning inequalities, injustices, discrimination and all the problems that societies are going through not only in their own context, but throughout the world.

Compa Trono is located in the city of El Alto. El Alto is a very interesting city, inhabited by people from the Aymara culture, indigenous leaders who still preserve their traditions, identity, and customs. It is said that El Alto is like a sleeping lion, and that when he awakens the whole population will tremble. He awoke once, succeeding in overthrowing a president and electing another of indigenous origin. It is for this reason that Bolivia currently has an indigenous president, the first in the history of Bolivia. Now all the forgotten, discriminated, colonized communities have regained their self-esteem and continue to fight harder for their rights.

Well, this and much more we can share on this upcoming semester  with Dragons, stories that are not told, that are forgotten and buried by this capitalist and consumerist system. Ufa! It is very important to know the history of the reality of the world in a different way: listening, looking, smelling, and feeling differently. These are things we will do together, and together we will learn through the experience!

For this and much more I am very excited to share with you my experience as awoman, creator, and dreamer, wanting to contribute so that our planet is a fairer and more equitable place, where all human beings without distinction can live in harmony and with respect… it’s hard work! But we are building it. I work with many young people in El Alto, with women and children creating spaces of well-being where each and everyone can express their thoughts and feelings. I had the opportunity to bring these collective dreams to very distant places such as Germany, Africa, the Philippines, and many countries in Latin America with the same objective, purpose, and dream of transmitting the desire and need to make the world become a place where the harmony between people and nature is reborn, as it was before, when our ancestors, or “Achachilas,” our grandfathers and grandmothers were alive. It’s worth it.

I am happy to know that I will be able to show you these other realities, beautiful, millennial, conflictive, struggling. We will live an unforgettable experience in the Andes  and Amazon here in South America, and as part of the team of instructors, I welcome you so that together we will experience this wonderful adventure!

Urpillay Soncollay, brother and sister Dragons!