La Entrada, Ecuador – Ballet Program

Performing Arts in a Painted Village

Once gray and easy to miss, the small fishing village of La Entrada has been transformed into a bright and colorful oasis on the coastal highway of southwest Ecuador. Multi-colored houses and an abundance of high-quality murals adorn the buildings, catching your eye at every turn.

The residents and visiting artists invested many hours to personalize the homes and community buildings with bright colors and giant murals. The church was renovated, including a spectacular full glass wall behind the altar providing an awe-inspiring view of the Pacific Ocean. It now hosts destination weddings on many weekends.

It seems that every improvement project in La Entrada starts with a meeting at Villa de los Sueños (Villa of Dreams), the home of Shell and Marsha Spivey. Sometimes they are scheduled in advance, but most often they just occur organically with individuals spontaneously appearing on the covered porch with a view of the ocean. The Spiveys, who moved from the United States to Ecuador over 7 years ago, have been instrumental in the church renovation, village colorization, and supporting the artists responsible for the amazing number of exceptional murals. They help local residents in dire situations, organize public cleaning days, and provide every child who attends the local public school with a backpack full of gifts each Christmas.

When I met the Spiveys and described the mission of Trifecta Arts, Shell’s only question was “What do you need to start ballet classes?” My request for  “interested students, a structure with a roof and a clean floor” was delivered in less than 2 weeks!

We agreed to launch the program the traditional way in rural Ecuador…word of mouth. Through the efforts of several influential woman in the community, we had a fabulous turnout of 46 boys and girls for the very first class. The following week we saw the attendance grow to 60 students and became confident that the village was indeed interested in ballet! We all enjoyed the newly painted and sparkling clean Community Center with a high arched ceiling and windows that opened to a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. Who could ask for more, I wondered?

But Shell wasn’t finished. Based on our successful launch, Shell asked again “What do you need for the ballet classes?”  This time, my reply was “Mirrors would be really helpful.” And, you guessed it, a full wall of mirrors was installed within a week. I was starting to think Shell Spivey was a Genie!

Although we never convinced Shell to participate in ballet class, we had many children try a few classes and counted 21 boys among our students. Several dancers achieved outstanding attendance of 76-88%, including one of our boys.

Our year long program resulted in the following impact:

  • 33 Classes
  • 136 Students
  • 699 Student hours in class