A Joyful Journey CP Africa Trip
Part Nine: Roll With It

In Addis, we had the opportunity to teach dance workshops at two different fitness gyms. Any experienced dance teacher knows how difficult it can sometimes be to coordinate sound technology. Well, in Africa you need to be EXTRA prepared.

Our class at “Body Wise Gym” was a later class on the other side of town. When we arrived, a yoga class was just finishing. Nervous for a good turnout, we invited everyone to stay and dance with us! To our surprise, almost everyone did! Our class was packed but not with the typical “hip-hop” dancers… we had moms, kids, and almost every personal trainer.

Starting out with a disorganized sound system in a foreign country with an extreme language barrier was not ideal. However, we quickly started to warm-up to aerobic music that was popular in the states in the 2000s. Smiling and laughing, the Ethiopians quickly joined in on our “crazy ferenji” stretches. While we were still scrambling to figure out a music solution, Bianca began teaching our ‘combo.’ However, imagine trying to teach your Mom or Dad a hip-hop routine without using words. Yes, this was what we were experiencing, so we quickly started to simplify the chorography. Settling on dancing to Ethiopian aerobic music, we had a fantastic response! Everyone stepped out of his or her comfort zone and tried to master everything we taught. The trainers were hilariously loud and motivating.

At our second Body Wise class, we had several familiar faces and two of our friends, Sophia and Abraham. We met Sophia on our first day in Addis at the Ethiopian dance class, and Abraham came to 3 of our 4 workshops…. He was definitely CP Elite Performer status! Again, the music was not our friend, instead of our trendy American hip-hop song; we danced to the aerobic version of “Meet Me Halfway,” by the Black Eye Peas. We had so much fun, and everyone was so joyful! They graciously thanked us for coming to teach them, and asked us to come back. Almost everyone stayed to take pictures, share emails, and learn more about our story. They loved their well-deserved hot pink CP Ribbons!

Despite all of the unexpected events, God still provided a way for His love to be shared through the art of dance. It wasn’t about having the “right” music; it was about building relationships and rejoicing in our shared passion for dance. Looking back on this experience, it probably wasn’t necessary for me to run out into the street in my socks, looking for a place to buy a CD. Wired to strive for perfection at all cost, we sometimes forget to just roll with the punches. Running around in our socks is when we miss some of the most important lessons of being at peace in His presence.

P.s. When teaching in Africa make sure to have power, equipment, all types of aux cords, and back-up CDs….

Or else, just roll with it!


Ellen Dutton

Crowd Pleasers Dance





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