DC, Bridgeport and Worcester WAIT Teams come together for long-awaited training

For Photos of the training, click here. For Video of the training, click here

Reported by Aunt Kate Tsubata

For many months, the DC WAIT team, together with Origin Dance initiators Lan Tsubata and Christella Hardman, had been trying to get to Worcester, MA to do some intensive training there.  So many delays happened, but finally, we settled on the weekend of Feb. 6 and 7.  However, as we began preparing, we learned that  a huge winter storm was headed for Washington, so it was a choice between canceling the training or traveling early.  We decided to drive up early, so on Thursday night we loaded up the van and took off for Worcester.  About one hour into our drive, we heard a funny noise; our rear tire had popped!  We were on a busy stretch of Interstate 95, and it took several hours to get the tire changed, go to a service area, and check the tire pressure in all the tires. It was really strange because we had put two brand new tires on in preparation for the trip. This delay caused our travel to extend quite a bit.  We ended up driving into Worcester at 7:30 a.m.
Welcomed by the Moik and Sugawara families, the weary travelers slept through the morning, gathering about 1 for lunch.  The afternoon was spent in meeting and talking about Worcester's needs and hopes with Will Moik, and Friday night, we met with other team members and parents to finalize schedules and ideas for the workshop. 
The next morning, we started at 9, and were happy to see that a dozen Bridgeport WAIT members had made it up to participate, in addition to about 35 Worcester WAIT team members.  With the DC team, we had about 50 youth and a bunch more of parents.
We began with stretching and dancing, an icebreaker, and some short talks.  Then we broke into learning sessions: dance, breakdance, multimedia and music.  Sun Jae and Mie, along with Wendy, led the video and web session, working with their group to create a webisode of a WAIT training.  Aunt Kate, Insung, Rachel and Harmony worked with the songwriting group, who wanted to create a new song usable for the upcoming Haiti earthquake relief events where the team would be performing.  Lan and Christella, supported by Jasmine led the dance and choreography sessions, and when the breakdancers worked independently of the other dancers, Kensei and Rakim worked with them. 
Our morning sessions were briefly interrupted for lunch, but we decided to eat as we worked and continued through to the afternoon.  Then we did a performance fundraising session, breaking into teams to go out and sing and dance for the shopowners and customers as a way to raise funds.  Despite frigid temperatures, the team had wonderful experiences which they shared later on.  On our return, popcorn and hot chocolate awaited, and Mie and Sun Jae introduced their latest full-length feature movie, "Cashing Out" to the team members and their parents.  While the movie ran, the DC team finished up the dinner preparations already underway. 
The families were inspired by the story of anonymous cash given to people in desperate circumstances, and later asked a lot of questions about how the movie was made.  We closed with testimonies and a game, and prepared for the next day's events.
Early on Sunday, the workshop re-assembled at the Worcester Youth Center, where the combined teams performed a song, "Beautiful Ending," and DC dancers performed "Stand in the Rain."  After the church service was finished, Aunt Kate shared a bit about how WAIT's work helps reach hearts and build the ability to change the world in each person and each audience. 
Then we broke into afternoon sessions, and the teams continued their efforts to write, choreograph, shoot video and create new materials.  We wrapped up around 3 with performances of the new pieces, including the song created, "Reach out through the Broken Night".  Several new dance segments were performed to "Stand in the Rain," and the video team reported on what skills they had learned.
As we took our closing photo, the DC and Bridgeport teams repacked their vans for long hours of travel, and the Worcester families helped.  It was hard to leave, after all the wonderful experiences we had shared, but we agreed to get together more in the future, hopefully in better weather.  Our long trip back was fine until we hit the snowy stretch south of Baltimore, where the roads were barely plowed.  Around 3 a.m. we trekked the last yards into our house through the snow, relaxing into our beds and blankets. 
We were so moved by the hearts and spirits of the Worcester families, and we hoped to have supported their growth in artistic and internal developments.  Since then, Insung, Rachel and Harmony have recorded a clearer version of the song, and sent it back for the team to use.  We can't wait to hear about the impact.
This was a "dress rehearsal" for a longer interstate trip next month, and we learned a lot.  We look forward to inspiring many teams and new groups with the work of WAIT.