While many of us spent our winter adjusting to another season of pandemic life, working from home and moving holiday celebrations to Zoom, Camila de Asis attended the Open Floor Foundational Training – the Ground Floor Lab. She knew she wanted to train to be a teacher with Open Floor and this was her first step. Her biggest obstacle was “How would she make it work?”. Living in Brazil, Camila faced several obstacles – travel limitations, financial constraints, the pandemic and her insecurities about her English language skills.
The tuition of the Lab, while affordable by US and European economic standards, does not translate as “affordable” to Braziliians like Camila because of the economic disparities across international borders. For comparison: the minimum wage in Brazil is equivalent to less than $200 USD per month. With highly skilled traders in Brazil averaging less than $900 USD per month. While similar sources estimate the US minimum wage at about $4000/month.
OFI is committed to accessibility and diversity of its training programs to a global community. With over 250 movement leaders from over 30 countries, the majority of OFI’s current teachers live in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Most are European (or of European descent) speak English fluently, identify as women, and are able-bodied.
With this objective, OFI recently launched a Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship Fund. And, Camila was able to start her training with this scholarship. So far, OFI has raised over $9,000 for this scholarship fund, and Camila was among the first few recipients who have been awarded $600 to date. Priority is given to applicants who belong to racial, religious, cultural, sexual identity, geographic, and ability groups that have traditionally been underrepresented populations in the field of mindful movement and conscious dance. Camila qualified based on geography and her commitment to bring OFI to her local community.
Even with the economic assistance, Camila still faced other concerns: whether her English language skills would be sufficient for the training. Despite hesitations, Camila shared that it turned out to be “very rich and inspiring.”
She was relieved, excited and grateful to join the lab, “After the first session I felt quite welcomed and connected.I had the feeling of being cared for individually, looked [after] in a very personal way.”
“Although the [large group] shares were challenging, the exchanges with the small group were incredible. We generated a lot of connection.” And, Camila felt that overall she was able to fully participate despite her insecurities about her English.
“I was really blown away by the support and environment of transformation so profound even through the Internet.”
For Camila it was a blessing that she was able to join the training, find community, connect and build her toolkit for the dance work she is already teaching in Brazil.
“It was transformative to participate and highly inclusive. I appreciate the openness, so that we can dance on any floor and any condition.”
“I was twice favored: With lower costs and the possibility of being at home.”
She sums up nicely what Open Floor hopes to achieve through our scholarships and continued online learning formats: “These are the miracles of life: The challenges that create openness to new ways of seeing and acting in the world!”