I don’t know about you, but I had quite the lovely, extended weekend.
My weekend started on Thursday, when I traveled to the University of Oregon for their Foreign Language Day (which, by the way, is a very long drive). Upon my arrival in Eugene, I went to the mall because that’s what teenagers do. At the mall, I bought a copy of Pirate Radio, my favorite movie of all time. I have searched about 7 stores for this film and I finally bought it. Accomplishment unlocked! However, as much fun as buying a film and eating lots of over-priced food court food is, I had even more fun on Friday.
Foreign Language Day is a day where schools from all around come and learn about the different cultures of the world. They have classes about China, Japan, Brazil, India, France, Spain, Germany, etc. There are a lot of classes and only so many sessions that one can attend. Of the three classes I attended, I went to a Spanish dance class, a Bhangra/Bollywood dance class, and a Brazilian dance class. As you can see, dancing was kind of the theme of the day for me.
I’ve always really loved dancing, as I did jazz, ballet, tap, and broadway as a kid, and getting back out and dancing again was really amazing. There are few things I enjoy more than dancing with a group of people as one. It’s intoxicating!
The Spanish dance class was really fun. We learned the Merengue and Salsa. Spanish dancing involves moving your hips a lot, which is fun until you pop something. The two dances are relatively easy to learn and I was amazed how quickly I picked them up. The couple in front of me seemed like professional dancers by the time the session was up!
The Bhangra class was definitely the most fascinating. The instructor had lived in India as a young girl and was really passionate about dancing. She set up the class as she would play some Indian music and do some dance moves, which the rest of the class would follow. After doing some sets, she answered some questions and then performed a whole dance for us! It was so elegant and flawless and just plain breath-taking!
The Brazilian dance class was my favorite. The other two sessions were fun, but this one just took the cake! There was a band (dressed in fabulous costumes) and the instructor on a stage. He had us come stand on the floor in front. We spent the entire 45 minutes dancing as one. We moved quickly and fluidly and it reminded me so much of why I miss taking dance. It’s so powerful! Unfortunately, after about 3 dances, my knee popped a little bit and I had to sit down. Fortunately, it gave me an opportunity to film a little of what we were doing, so here you go! Some real Brazilian dancing done by American students!
Overall, my day was fantastic. I learned some really great dance moves and experienced some culture I’d never really thought of. If you ever come across an experience similar (or even one that focuses on only one culture) I highly recommend you take it, even if you aren’t interested in that country. Having a general knowledge of the world and it’s traditions is so important to being a well-rounded person.
Which cultures are you favorite? Do you know any dance moves from different cultures? Leave all responses in the comments!