Our weekend of dancing in Busan ended with a relaxed day at a spa.
Before going there, we had a conversation with our friends:
-“Are you comfortable being naked?”
-“Hm.. Depends where, in the sauna?”
-“Yes, sauna, spa, jacuzzi, everywhere”
-“Ah, ok, so I guess I don’t need to bring my swimsuit with me”
Once you’re in the spa, men and women go separate ways, basically two separate parts of the building and yeah, everybody is naked, walking around, sitting in jacuzzi, swimming in the pool. At first glance it looks like a super hippy festival where everyone decided they don't need clothes. After a minute of adjustment (or 10) it actually felt really cool and somehow liberating. It felt like a nice celebration of womanhood, not being scared or self-conscious about your body. Also, you can get ice-cream and eat it there (naked of course).
We left the seaside city of Busan to go back to Seoul for two more days. Another train ride across the country and we were back in the buzzing capital. We decided to visit 24-hour shopping malls in one of the city’s areas Dongdaemun. Those who say that New York is a city that never sleeps clearly never visited Seoul. It’s something surreal, you can get food, drinks, coffee’s and shop literally ALL NIGHT LONG. We visited two of the malls, each of them has 6-7 flours. After the third floor I was already really tired (shopping is hard work..) and kept getting lost but our lovely host Jessica was a pro at it and showed us the best ways to navigate in that crazy maze. When we got to the second shopping mall (must have been around 2AM) I felt so tired so we went to get green tea matcha’s (they make them so freakin’ sweet that you can almost feel diabetes crippling in, on the other hand it gives you extra rush to continue the shopping tour). All in all, we finished shopping close to 3AM which was again a surreal experience, being inside the mall, seeing people, lights and feeling completely lost in what time of the day it is.
Ideas from Seoul dance scene
Last day in Seoul was dedicated to dancing. Practicing and teaching solo jazz classes for one of the teams here (go Jazzy Flyers!). And of course, chicken and beer afterwards (it seems that dancers here spend as much money for chicken and beer as they spend for the dance classes). It’s inspiring to meet the local dance community here, to see how motivated they are to dance, learn and improve and at the same time they stay very humble, very open-minded and community oriented. There are several teams in Seoul, which shows that the dancers here not only strive to become better as individuals but also to create and share with other people which makes them improve so much faster.
I would like to see this idea spread more in Europe, as well as in my home community. Concentrating not only on how to become a better dancer, how to make finals or place in a competition, how to “look good” (whatever that means in a dance) but trying to find people that you enjoy hanging out, that inspire you and that want to learn and create together and form a team or a practice group. Create an environment for one self to feel supported, to feel encouraged, instead of applying the individualistic approach of self-made-man. Recently, I’ve been meeting a few up-and-coming dancers that are very excited but after some time they somehow burn out, they start thinking that they’re not good enough, that dancing is not for them. I truly believe it’s partly because of all the pressure that we put on ourselves as individual artists/dancers (to be/do “good” or “great”) and a lack of support system. That is where joining or creating a group, a team, can give you some extra strength and motivation to keep going.
Seoul - Taipei
This one week in Korea already feels like one month. So much stimulation and at the same time trying to balance dancing with wanting to see and experience as much as possible. And then finding at least a little bit of time to be by ourselves and breathe (especially after constantly saying and feeling “wow!" about everything we see). Let’s see how it goes. Next stop - springtime and more dancing in Taipei, Taiwan!