Just Another Day In Indonesia…


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Oppa Gangnam Style!

So, if you haven’t heard yet, I recently made my grand debut as a dancer by performing “Gangnam Style” onstage with my students…in front of hundreds and hundreds of people. The video is above, for your viewing pleasure. If you know me you probably know I am not a natural dancer. I usually have two left feet and no sense of rhythm. I can hardly even clap and sing at the same time. So what led me to voluntarily agree to dance onstage? Especially in a country where I’m constantly trying to stay OUT of the limelight and avoid being the center of attention?

That’s a good question. To be honest, I’m not really sure what came over me but it boils down to the fact that I thought it would be fun to hang out more with my students. So I said I would try to learn the dance and I nearly died the first day we had practice. (Note that I agreed to doing the dance before I actually watched the video of the flash mob we modeled our dance on.) It was SO HARD. I stood in the back of the room, watching my students count “Tu-A-Ga-Pat!” (the abbreviated version of one-two-three-four) and strut their stuff, shake their hips, and I thought, “This is insanity. I can hardly even Cupid Shuffle.” But I was committed. So I got the file from my students (copyright = the right to copy?) and I studied the dance at home. For hours. I practiced in my room with the door closed. I practiced in the mandi. I practiced whenever I thought people weren’t looking. And of course, I practiced with my students three days a week after school. The phrase “red as a lobster” gained new meaning for me after these practices. My face literally blended in with the red of my school sports uniform. (Also, I’ve never sweat more in my life.)

And, slowly but surely, I got it! My counterpart watched our practice one day and told the students that I had the most attitude while dancing, and they should imitate me. This marks the first time in my life anyone has wanted to imitate me dancing (although, Erin, do you remember my famous cat move in high school? I’ve come a long way). And it wasn’t long after that that I was berani (brave) enough to move from the back to the front. But even all that practice didn’t stop my knees from knocking on the day of our performance. It was a long 12 minutes waiting on stage during the first part of our “SMANSA’s Got Talent – Dance Edition” show. My students split into 4 groups of performers and did 4 short dances (to the Macarena – which I taught them in class, Goyang Duyu – a popular Indonesian dance here, CherryBelle – Indonesia’s version of K (Korean) pop, and last but not least one student singing Neng Nong Neng – something I had never heard before but I guess it’s popular here) before Gangnam Style – the grand finale! Our dance was based on a video of a flash mob at Cornell University (you can look it up on youtube) and due to a typical typo we were listed on the line-up as “flash mop.” But, really, no flash mob or mop here, just me and lots of students dancing away.

And it was a success! I had a blast. I love spending time with my students and, before our school birthday, I hadn’t done a lot with this particular class. Now we’re tight. J Below is a slideshow that I put together with all the different pictures I had of the activities this class did during the week. Since they were my counterpart’s homeroom class, I hung out with them a lot and I made sure that all their activities were well documented. The first day back at school we showed this video to the class and it was a big hit.

So, to sum it all up, I’m really glad I did it. I pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone for sure, and that was one of the reasons I wanted to join Peace Corps, right? I never thought that would come in the form of Gangnam Style, but life is full of surprises. :)