Natasha from the Red Cross

Hi All

Natasha Salazar, from the Red Cross was ask to guest blog for me. So she tried to find a connection between my story ballet and what the red Cross does. Please enjoy her writings below.

Natasha Salazar-

Gaspar Ballet – When José Gaspar’s shipmates are deep in battle with the villainous militia, Gaspar realizes that he is facing a disaster of epic proportions. Gaspar’s shipmates are about to be captured and all hope seems lost. But just as the chance of a rescue seems impossible, Captain José Gaspar swings gallantly across the stage on a pirate’s rope to battle the militia and rescue his shipmates.

Emulating José Gaspar, Red Cross volunteers fly onto a disaster scene when they are needed most. When flames fracture a family’s home or a tornado tears through a town, volunteers arrive on scene to execute their beautifully rehearsed choreography:

  • Opening Chords: a volunteer Disaster Action Team lead is en pointe when they hear the ring and listen to the solemn but urgent voice of the emergency responder.
  • Solo:  The lead volunteer consults the “on-call list” and activates their team. They check their supplies and begin their chassé on the road to disaster.
  • Corps de Ballet: The volunteers meet near the point of disaster. They are briefed on the details of the situation and they prepare their plan of action. Then, in unison, they arrive at center stage.
  • Center Stage: Smoke fills the air and the noise level rises. Neighbors are gathered, whispering, in the middle of the street, serving as the audience for tonight’s tragedy. Many step in, hoping to play a part – offering their food, beds, or a shoulder to cry on. Thumping and radios serve as the base while firefighters work to quell the flames.
  • Grand Ballabile: Volunteers enter the scene and greet their fellow cast – firefighters, police, paramedics. Red Crossers thank their partners and gather critical information that will help them later in the night – while quickly making their way to the disaster survivors.
  • Pas de Deux: The pas de deux  between disaster survivor and Red Cross volunteer is one of great emotion – both carrying the burden of this tragedy and lifting each other through a disaster one could scarcely imagine. Volunteers begin by listening as their partner shares what they are going through – shock, loss, disbelief.  They spend hours with each person affected by the tragedy and share words of comfort. The volunteer, having weathered many storms, can share from experience that it gets better – that recovery is but a few steps away. Their dance is one of understanding and hope.
  • Finale: Volunteers leave a gift of food, water, clothing, hygienic items, soft toys of comfort – for the children – and shelter to help them get through the next few nights.
  • Denouement: Never does a disaster survivor go without hearing from the Red Cross again. In the days and weeks following each disaster, volunteers continue to meet with their clients to provide support until they have found a stable home and can see that they will be dancing through a bright future ahead.

Red Cross volunteers train and rehearse extensively for their first day on center stage. They must be able to execute their choreography flawlessly on a different stage each night – and their training takes a lot of funding to support. The gifts left by Red Cross volunteers are only possible thanks to the donations of the American public. One of the most beautiful parts of Gaspar Ballet is its generosity in providing the hope, the comfort, and a future for disaster victims who lose their homes every day in the Tampa Bay Area.

We have been so fortunate to have such wonderful friends as Richard and Sharon Sanchez, together with their exceptionally talented Gaspar Productions team.  It is exceedingly rare to find such a caring group of volunteers who have come together to unite art, elegance, history, hope, and charity in one flawlessly executed production.

Like our Red Cross volunteers, this incredible team performs their role with a poise, grace, flexibility, and professionalism matching the world’s most exquisite ballet dancers…though most of the volunteers leave their pirate gear and tutus at home.

It is an honor to work with this team, and we encourage you to support their plight of making Gaspar Ballet an integral part of Tampa Bay history.

— by Natasha Salazar, for BalletFleming


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