For the past 3 1/2 weeks, I, along with the 14 other new staff in my department (LSCT) at Ngee Ann, have been preparing for a talent show that we were roped into by our senior lecturers. The 15 of us included the three IFs (International Fellows, including myself), new lecturers, TSOs (Technical Support Officers), and RAs (Research Assistants). A whopping grand total of 1 of us had any dance experience - a tiny little TSO by the name of Li Yan who's been belly dancing for years.
For 2 afternoons a week during this period, we would all meet and try to scramble together a performance that wouldn't completely suck. Over the course of our preparations, we built together a fairly solid routine - we designed a belly dance routine to Shakira, a bangara routine (a typical Indian dance), a Michael Jackson routine for the 3 IFs (of course they had the white people do MJ), and finally a routine to "Sorry Sorry" by Super Junior (a very hip, popular Korean Pop song among the teenagers here). As all of the pieces of our routine started to come together (including the MJ performance which we choreographed 8 hours before our performance), we started to get really excited to perform - in front of 600 students in our department!
During the moments before the performance, waiting backstage in the dressing room, I started to get the same feeling of nervous excitement that I would get before swim races - it was a rush. We walked out in the dark as the previous act was singing, and assumed our starting position for the belly dance song. As soon as the curtain opened, the students erupted into a scream - we were the only staff performance in the talent show, and already the students have fallen in love with the American lecturers. Each time I or Trevor or Ana performed on stage, the students would squeal with delight. In particular, I had a solo at the end of the performance, during "Sorry Sorry" where I performed "The Worm" - a break-dance move where you wave your body along the ground, moving backwards. I picked up this trick mainly as a party trick over the years, and it's pretty easy to do but looks really cool. As I went through the motions for the dance, all I could hear was the deafening roar of the crowd. They simply went nuts during this part, it was one of the coolest experiences of my life.
The best part about doing this dance performance has been the after effects. All of my coworkers have come up to me at some point to comment on my ability to do the worm - they all think I'm some kind of gymnast or dance performer from the past. It's hilarious. Even better, the next 2 classes I walked into, my students all erupted into cheers as I walked into the room. It's certainly a great feeling to enter a room with this kind of reception!
For one of my classes, the students had a projector already set up with the youtube video of my worm performance on the screen and all the lights off, and timed it so just as I walked in they were in the middle of watching it, erupting into cheers. In addition, just randomly walking around campus now, I will walk past a group of students whom I have no idea who they are, and they will shout out "THRILLLA!" (in reference to the MJ performance). We're kind of like mini-celebrities on campus now. Check out the dance performance below:
Yea, it's awesome here.