In the News from Panama

A Story of Dance and Panama

We are often reminded of the beauty and culture of Panama, which makes it such a unique place to live and work. A recent article in the prestigious Conde Nasté Traveler provided another example of Panama’s ability to captivate travelers in different ways.

For writer Kiersten Marie Brown, the connection was dance. When she moved to Panama, she was looking for a way to make closer ties with her new country. She eventually started taking dance lessons on the rooftop of an old apartment building in Panama City. And then they moved to the spectacular Cinta Costera, the stretch of public space along the bay which is a popular spot for runners, bikers, and all sorts of clubs and activities.

Suddenly she was part of that wonderful Panama City scene.

“As I got used to stumbling through each lesson, my classmates became my good friends. After salsa, we’d go out for ceviche at the seafood market or cheap pizza at a hole-in-the-wall, and we began to invite each other on weekend hikes and beach trips.”

Brown eventually moved to Playa Venao, on Panama’s beautiful west coast. She arrived in the heart of the carnival, and found herself swept up in her new Panama life, with “its colorful costumes and elaborate masks, and parades and live music beating through the streets.”

Hopping between celebrations, I ended up in a grocery store parking lot, where a group of locals had gathered. The sounds of drums vibrated off the cement walls and floor. Every other hand had a clear bottle of gold-colored beer, and people formed interlocking lines as they danced by moving back and forth in unison. Before I knew it, I was unapologetically shaking my shoulders alongside them.,

Brown captures the spirit of what it is like to be an expat exploring Panama. Many elements of the country and its culture can grab the heart of a newcomer. For Brown, dance became that special element. “There’s a reason dancing is intrinsic to Panama and its people—and that night, I understood why,” she writes. 

Read her full story here.