When I first got to Korea I signed up to receive Meetups about dance classes and such around Seoul, but until about 2.5 months ago nothing ever quite tickled my fancy, aside from a Tango class that Joshua and I were supposed to go to until monsoon season interfered with his umbrella and our general morale, and we called that a no-go.
I had been feeling in a little bit of a funk and needed a way out of it, and then I got the Meetup event for Jazz classes with the possibility of participating in a flashmob. HELLO SWEET BABY MOSES count me in! The class ran for 6 weeks, every Saturday for 3 hours at a dance studio near Hansung University. Twas perfect and super close to me! Nothing is EVER close to me!
The class was taught by a really sweet lady named Cheryl Obal, who has lived in many different countries, including Italy and India, and everywhere she goes she spreads her love of dance through dance classes. Turns out she teaches charity classes every Saturday in Gangnam as well, with all proceeds going to the volunteer group Justice for North Korea to rescue North Korean refugees. She put those on hold for these weeks, as this particular class was for Seoul Dance Project, which is an effort by the city of Seoul to spread happiness to the people of the city through dance. Several classes are held around the city, and this was the only one specific to foreigners or Koreans who like to speak English. The class had people from America, Malaysia, Korea, and Uzbekistan to name a few, and was open to all levels, as long as you wanted to dance dance dance!
During the 6 weeks we learned two dances: 1 “Theme Dance” which is specific to the Seoul Dance Project, as it is the number to be performed with alllllll the other groups around Seoul in several giant flashmobs, and “Raise Your Glass” choreographed by Cheryl to be performed whenever and wherever there is an event to perform it.
Since Cheryl volunteers with Justice for North Korea, we performed at one of their awareness street campaigns on July 27th in an effort to draw attention to their cause. Fun facts: July 27th also happened to be the 60th Anniversary of the Armistice Agreement signed by North and South Korea after the Korean War, AND National Dance Day in America! To top it off, Cheryl also donated the money she raised from her classes, totaling around $1,200.00, which is enough to rescue 1 North Korean refugee. Amazing I say!
We performed “Raise Your Glass” twice in Insadong, and I must say, it felt damn good to perform again! I also had the biggest cheer squad in my corner which pumped me up even more! Jee, Josh, Katie, Matt, Tim, Veny, Andria and Steven all came to watch me NOT FALL, therefore Jee owes me 500won, and Joshy and Jee got pulled up to boogey down with me at the end. Teehee suckas!
You can see in this video that I messed up a couple times, which pissed me off considering I nailed it in class, BUT, nonetheless it was soooo much fun and felt so awesome to get out and dance again (without falling…..). I even accomplished my cherry-on-top wish of scaring Koreans with public dancing by ripping a girl’s hand right out of her boyfriend’s and forcing her to dance with me. She frightfully came, nervous laughed and then ran away. Ch-ch-check it OUT!
I will definitely be frequenting Cheryl’s donation classes going forward! Dancing and raising money for a wonderful cause is the perfect combo of feel good 🙂