Japanese version日本語
My First Dance Performance  by Kim Iyeong

I recently participated in an International dance festival that is held by the local Shinjuku government once every year.
Participants from all over the world came to perform their traditional dances and foster international friendships.
It was my first time taking part in such a big dance event.
I was very nervous, but it was a great experience to see so many different people, dances and costumes all at once.
It was especially wonderful for me because of my interest in dance.

Korea is my home country, and I very much wanted to see their traditional dance!
Unfortunately, we were so busy preparing for our show that I missed their show in the big hall.
However I was lucky enough to catch their workshop upstairs in the same building.
It was the first workshop after the lunch break.
There weren’t many audience members, but there were participants on the stage.
A female representative of the dance school asked me in fluent Japanese; “If you don’t mind, lets dance together”
I was hesitant but excited as I took off my sneakers and climbed up to join.
The dancers all wore chima chogori and looked very beautiful.
They made a circle with the participants to teach the basic form and choreograph of Korean dance.
“ Hanah, dool, set, net, dasot, yasot, ilgop, yadol”.
We counted to 8, dancing and turning in a small circle with a bigger circle around it.
It reminds me of a mime’s folk dance around a camp fire. I enjoyed it very much!

What I recognized as the most significant movement, is the use of the foot.
What I usually study in ballet and jazz is to use a pointed foot, touching the floor with the tip of my toe.
The Korean dancer told me to use my heel first.
In Korean dance, you always flex your foot, stepping with your heel.
It is very interesting to see the differences in how to use your body.
I realized, that this is the same as Japanese dance technique.
The workshop was only 20 minutes long, but by the end we had performed the whole dance.
It was my first experience with traditional Korean dance.

Next it was time for us to take the stage.
As one of the representatives of Japan, we performed bamboo magic
and a traditional dance in the kimono of samurai and geisha.
We also represented Brazil with the samba, although there were no Brazilians in our troupe.
I was so excited I forgot a few moves, but I remembered at the last part of bamboo magic
we had to spread out into two groups forming two circles.
Someone called out “Iyong-chan! Turn!”
Not only one person but from a few! I was stopping at one turn, but we had to keep turning.
At the end when we made a line, someone yelled, Iyong-chan! Stop!
Without help from these voices, I would have messed up the scene.
I was so impressed by the team-work and so thankful for everyone on stage.

After bamboo magic, we were dancing “Kawano Nagare no Youni(Like a River Stream)”
I was no longer nervous. We were off to a good start.
After a while though, my samurai jacket gradually fell down and
when we did the unison choreography, my samurai pants kept falling lower and lower!
With my jacket almost dropping from my shoulder, I must have had a miserable samurai look!
I had no time to rest though:
We quickly took off our kimono and changed to samba costume with big feathers and bright colors.

When we took the stage, the audience applauded and that encouraged us a lot!
I totally forgot my mistakes while dancing in high heels and struggling with my heavy feathers.
At the end however, my feathers tangled with someone else’s and we could not separate!
We exited the stage still tangled! I forgot the choreography and went the total opposite direction.
I messed up but still enjoyed a lot!
So many things I had to confess afterward, but it was my first time.
We practiced every day, making costumes, coming together to make this moment;
This was the most important thing for us! More than anything else.

After changing out of my costume, I went to take a seat and watch the other country’s dances.
There were only 2 more shows, Argentina and Thailand.
It was cool to see Argentinean tango, the attractive couple danced to beautiful music.
However the dance of Thailand was so slow with such slow music
that I ended up going to sleep very comfortably.

Being in Japan, and seeing so many different dances from different countries I feel so lucky!
I was impressed to see so many foreigners living abroad, demonstrating their home country’s culture.
I should do it too!
I felt like I had done this today, and it was a great relief.

Relaxed and satisfied, I was almost sleeping coming home.
The whole day was like a revolving lantern; a dream or illusion quickly passing me by.
Later, my friend, my present boyfriend, said to me “It was wonderful!”
That made me very happy.
Now I am preparing for our show in November.
This time, not only dancing, but I am also going to sing.
I feel nervous, but I love being challenged and practicing every day.

Through dance, my life is constantly changing and transforming. Extending out to many new people!
I have never had such precious days, and I’m so fortunate to share such great things
with great people.
Tomorrow will be better than today and I will continue to be challenged with new opportunities!

-The End 
 Translated by Marika, corrected by Dustin