The other day at dinner my coaches husband Scott asked me when I was going to post my Prague blog. He said he read my Africa posts and wanted me to post a Prague post so here it is Scott! This ones for you!
One October day I walked into Cougs practice thinking it was going to be like any other Tuesday practice. We warmed up and as we began to clean our dances I could sense something was a little off. Our coaches, Jodi and Morgan, we’re rushing us through choreography and cleaning was going a lot quicker than usual. Then after about an hour Jodi told us she felt like we needed to “wake up” so she wanted us to go jog around the Richards Building twice. We all felt perfectly fine so our jog consisted of us giggling and wondering what in the world was going on. When we walked back into our practice room the lights were off and our projector was paused on a picture of the Charles Bridge in Prague on the screen. She told us to all take a seat and not ask questions. After watching a film (all while being on hidden cameras) we learned that we were going to be competing in an International Dance Festival in Prague this summer!! The tears began to flow and there was no limit to our squeals of excitement. After settling down Jodi informed us that an anonymous donor had come forward and paid for our airfare, hotel, competition fees etc. Then the excitement rose to a whole new level. What a unbelievable opportunity and journey we had ahead of us!!
Due to weddings, family vacations and humanitarian trips to Africa already planned practices for Prague could only start beginning June 22nd. We had a little over a week and a half to prepare but we felt prepared to go share our teams talent with the world.
We arrived in Prague on Saturday and the festival ended on Thursday. During the day we would take classes (hip-hop, modern, pantomime, theatrical make-up, ballet or pilates) and at night we would compete. At college nationals we have 2 minutes and 10 seconds to compete a number but here we had 15 minutes of choreography we had to be prepared with! So we brought 5 numbers to compete. Some other teams brought only 1 or 2 long numbers. It was up to you how to spend your time on stage! Other countries that we competed against included South Africa, Panama, Israel, Turkey, Australia, Belgium, Lithuania, Italy etc. It is amazing how universal dance is and how many people regardless of their background all share the same passion.
Competing and taking classes in Prague was an experience I will never forget. I met amazing people and my heart was truly touched by the friendships I made. It was also amazing to have so many missionary experiences. After we won the competition my Belgium friends told me I needed to go “party all night and celebrate” and I was able to explain to them my beliefs and how I had never drank before. They respected me and when they learned no one on our team ever had their jaws dropped to the floor. I love experiences like this.
Not only was dancing amazing but Prague itself is absolutely breathtaking! It is a city now LOVE and was amazed by its beauty. So many cobblestone streets, castles, bridges, rivers and history. All the participants were able to go on a boat cruise one night and watch the city light up. Seriously, pictures will never to justice! Put this city on your bucket list everyone!
Now we are off to spend a couple days in Austria. We just stopped by Mathausen Concentration Camp which was also an unforgettable experience. Our history we must never not only forget or regret. We must learn of these occurrences so we can prevent anything remotely close to that happening again. The extent of the prisoners suffering is something I was ashamingly naive to.
After leaving I have pondered on how blessed and spoiled I am. Why I was given so much, I will never know. But until then, I am eternally grateful. What an amazing life I have been blessed with!
Here are some pictures! Til next time Xoxo, Liv