Students travel to Panama to teach dance to orphans during spring break

FSU students visiting an orphanage in Panama
Movement Exchange at FSU students visiting an orphanage in Panama in 2015.

While many college students will spend spring break dancing on the beach, the students of Movement Exchange at Florida State University will be teaching dance to underserved youth in Panama.

Movement Exchange at FSU, an organization dedicated to uniting dance and community service, will take its second annual spring break trip to Casco Viejo, Panama, beginning March 5.

Eight FSU students, accompanied by Movement Exchange members from George Mason University and Southern Methodist University, will spend the service trip giving dance lessons to children in Panama orphanages and at-risk youth foundations in an effort to foster mental, physical and social well being.

“By teaching dance to these kids we are able to see them express themselves in a new light,” said Emily Bethune, a senior majoring in communication science and disorders and president of the Movement Exchange at FSU. “Watching them transform and become more confident in who they are and the possibilities of their futures is incredible.”

The children also will get a chance to showcase their newfound dance skills.

“On our last day at each orphanage we will put on a show so each group of kids can perform what they learned for their friends and have a chance to show off all their hard work,” Bethune said.


Movement Exchange
Movement Exchange at FSU students share their dance skills at a Panama orphanage in 2015.

Movement Exchange

In addition to spending four hours a day providing dance education to the children of Panama, the students of Movement Exchange at FSU plan to take part in cross-cultural exchange.

“We also get to teach and take classes at the University of Panama with their dance majors,” Bethune said. “This experience is really cool because we’re able to meet people our age and see how different their dance styles are or how they move and then share that with each other.”

Movement Exchange at FSU, a chapter of the Movement Exchange organization, seeks to to combine dance and service internationally and locally. The group’s students also volunteer with afterschool programs in the Tallahassee community.

For more information about Movement Exchange at FSU, visit its Facebook page.