Andrea Mendoza: K-Pop Dance Aerobics

Although mirrors line the walls of NAS Sports Club, each time that I find myself sitting or stretching idly on the hard, wooden floors before lessons, I feel strangely imperceptible. In a society that targets Seta’s middle-aged (and predominantly female) community, everything suddenly falls into a wonderful routine of blending in through partially transforming mentally into a middle-aged woman from Shiga.
Very little actual K-Pop dancing happens in K-Pop dance class. (a phenomenon entirely comprehensible given that the majority of the class delightfully consists of ojisan and obasan). Small talk is limited to the first five minutes before class, when I usually find myself sitting next to a short woman in her mid-forties who enjoys talking about KARA and Kim Hyun Joong. Our instructor, Karl, walks in with over-sized pants whose inspiration may have derived from a raggedy parachute and begins to stretch, never failing to check on his (again, oversized) baseball cap in the mirror.  With Seungri’s “Strong Baby” blasting in our ears, we immediately feel pumped up for the new KARA dance. We will look like fools for the first forty minutes, and exhausted pop stars for the last twenty. Somehow, though, this is the least of my worries.
I wonder where the man on my right bought his neon orange towel.
More than this, though, I wonder what it is about KARA’s dance that attracts the middle-aged population of Shiga to come to NAS and learn it from a man named Karl whose pants are too big for his small frame and who barely hides his muffled giggles when we visibly lack to ability to move our legs in sync to the song.
If asked about the true identity of my Community Involvement Project, I should have to admit that it is not KPop. Sometimes, I could say that it is NAS Sports Club (where I find myself in at least twice a week, sweating through kick-boxing, zumba, pilates or a variety of embarrassingly difficult aerobic work outs that my host mom has somehow mastered). Generally, however, I would say that this is not me who makes this “project” so “involved”, but Seta’s involved ojisan and obasan who have adopted me into their community that have made this visceral and emotional experience thoroughly enjoyable.


少女時代といえば、いつも「GEE」と同じようなだんだん流行りつつあるダンスが連想されるが、実はこの時まで、こういう人気がありそうな踊りにはあまり興味がなかった。しかし、まるで一つの現象のように少女時代が韓国で毎週この歌と踊りで一番人気だったころに、私も前は無意味だと考えていた少女時代を大好きになってしまった。このダンスをみたら、私もその踊り方をまねしたくなって、K−POPのファンとしての、私の生活がだんだん変わってきた。「練習すれば 必ず私も少女時代の踊りをできるようになるはずだ」と考えて、毎日のように例の歌のビデオをみていたら、その特別な踊り方をまねることはできるようになった。その頃、AllKPopという英語の韓流についてのサイトが「GEE」のアルバムをもらうためにコンテストがあった。そのコンテストのトピクは「どうしてこのアルバムに勝ってほしい?」についてだったから私もそのコンテストに応ほした。