The Movement Exchange is a national, nonprofit organization whose goal is to combine the love of dance with community service. In Tallahassee, the group works within Leon County and provides dance classes to children. They also offer free classes to FSU students here on campus. Once a year, the organization travels to Panama City, where they teach dance classes to children in orphanages. They also take courses at the University of Panama, learn from local dance professionals and learn about Panamanian culture.
Meet Adele Switzer, president and founder of the FSU chapter of the Movement Exchange!
Her Campus (HC): The Movement Exchange focuses on getting up, moving around and dancing. Did you have any prior dance experience before starting this organization?
Adele Switzer (AS): I started dancing when I was two and half years old and I’m now a dance major here at FSU. I think now I am really beginning to understand how much dance has influenced my life. It has brought so much positivity into my life that I would not be the person I am today without it.
HC: What has being a member of the Movement Exchange shown you?
AS: Becoming involved with Movement Exchange has not only increased my passion and love for dance, but it has also made me realize how much of a blessing it is to have access to dance education. This organization has really broadened my perspective, showing me that dance should be easily accessible to all.
HC: It’s amazing that you guys are able to travel and help those in need. Tell us a little about your experience in Panama City.
AS: We stayed in Casco Viejo, the historic district of Panama City. The whole city is so beautiful and unique. We visited ancient ruins, the Panama Canal, the beach and so much more. We traveled to the Caribbean side in Colon and actually got to learn an afro-Brazilian dance from a student at the University of Panama. We paired up with the university a lot and got to teach their students some of our favorite dance styles. It was amazing getting to work with dance majors from another country: seeing how they take in movement differently and add different stylistic choices that make their movement unique.
HC: What was your favorite part about the trip?
AS: Every day we visited an orphanage, spending up to five hours working, dancing, and playing with the kids there. Each day was exhausting, but insanely rewarding. Most of the children we work with do not have the constant love and support they deserve, so we really try to give them as much attention and encouragement as possible. Over the course of either the few hours or days we’re in each orphanage, the children are way more creative and confident in themselves and you can see a spark in their eyes that they didn’t have before.
HC: What was it about the Movement Exchange that made you want to start a chapter here at FSU?
AS: I left my first exchange to Panama in March 2014 feeling beyond inspired. It was the first time I had seen dance being used as an empowerment tool. Not only did I want to return to Panama, but I also wanted the FSU dance community to have the opportunity to witness how inspiring dance can be. After seeing how influential dance could be on children in Panama, I wanted to begin doing local outreach within the Tallahassee community to see what positive impact we could make back home.
HC: As president, what are your goals for the group this year?
AS: My main goal is creating a larger group of like-minded individuals who are excited by the idea of using dance to inspire the lives of those around us!
“Our goal as an organization isn’t to be the most technical or amazing dancers, but to inspire through dance. Absolutely anyone can be a member of our organization and no prior dance training is necessary!” – Adele Switzer