Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Swing dance- the newest torture
One activity we have been teaching the kids as a theme class is swing dance. Not the flipping or throwing that one might think of when swing dance comes to mind but the most basic moves with a few spins. It is a fun dance, active and sponky, one that all ages can enjoy. Many groups have really enjoyed this activity, however yesterday was a different story. Picture a rusty pair of plyers and teeth strewn about. Yesterday rather than dance instructers we were likened to maniacal dentists pulling teeth.
It started out innocently enough, pairing the males and females into dancing pairs. It should be mentioned that in Korean culture, relations between the different sexes are strained at best, even in the high school level. This behavior, which one might expect from elementary and middle school students in the states, continues in Korea, for what I assume is all of their life. Rooms as if by a magical force are immediatly split by gender into a boy side and a girl side. Cuties, that curious disease only carried by elementary students, which is spread by mere touching, even brushing up against that of the opposite gender, is no longer considered a diseae and even welcomed passed that certain age in adolecense when the opposite sex suddenly inexplicably becomes intriguing. This undisclosed age, never seems to come to fruition in Korea because the sexes just don't mingle. They see each other as seperate speices always carrying cuties. So this innocent pairing was ill-fated from the start.
Four dance moves were displayed by Casey and myself as a demonstration. I have only swing danced a couple of times in my life and do not know the moves, but I am pretty good at following a lead (surprisingly enough). Once we were finished walking them through the steps, the grumbling began. It first appeared as a low mumble slowly cultivating into a near hostile mob. However the true tooth pulling didn't occur until we began the competition. Four teams had to grace the stage with their dancing abilities, showing off their most poetic moves. However, instead of soul dancers we had to push the couples together like opposing magnents while they stood their thinking of ways they could most quickly get off the stage. When each group of four was complete, the audience awarded the teams which would continue to the semi-finals by loud clapping or yelling. At first I thought maybe they were voting for the teams with the most popular people involved, but then it seemed they also voted for the most shy or the least willing group just to further humiliate them. Sometimes teams would attempt to slink off the stage like a low lying snake sliding down the stairs inconspicously to avoid the voting.
I found myself shaking my head throughout the entire process aware of my role as Korean children torturer. With each tug and yank, the process became just as painful for me as it was for them. I didn't relish in their pain, but sadly I did laugh at their akwardness and determined unwillingness to participate. I might as well have been a Chinese torture specialist for all the pain etched into each of their faces. So if anyone asks what Vanessa and Kyle are doing in Korea, you may tell them honestly, "they are torturing Korean children with swing dance lessons."