Last night, I was invited to a dance at a chinese restaurant, but the dance was mainly for the
Vietnamese community. This is the first time I’ve ever been to a Vietnamese dance, and I have to say it was truly eye-opening. One of the things I love most about what I do is the great variety of people I meet and really get to know on a more personal level. Take my Vietnamese student, for instance. When I first met him, I truly knew nothing about him. In fact (and this will sound really uneducated, I know) I just assumed that he was Chinese! But I’ve gotten to know him really well in the last year, and now I am being introduced to the Vietnamese community and getting a good sense of their “identity”. For instance, I always knew in theback of my mind that the French had colonised Vietnam. Of course I knew that. But I didn’t realise the extent of the French influence because I simply hadn’t considered it. About 2 months ago, we did a show for a dinner/dance that my student was hosting, and he had two Vietnamese dance professionals demonstrating as well. When I watched them 2 months ago, I was very shocked at how BAD they were. I mean, terrible posture, footwork is nonexistent, frame is… well, not there. But last night, at the Vietnamese dance, I started to get a sense of what those “professionals” were doing. We’re not talking about Ballroom Dancing, and certainly not competitive DanceSport like what we do, so comparing the two is a little unfair. What they do is completely different style of ballroom dancing. My student is very clear: we do International Syle, they do Vietnamese Dancing. It’s like comparing an action movie with an indie film. How can you? Their goals are different, therefore their approach is different, therefore the final product is different. So it’s not fair to compare them. Anyway, as I said, last night was an eye-opener and I really appreciate my student inviting me. I even learned how to say “nice to meet you” in Vietnamese!