So back a while ago our school was selected to be part of the audience for the filming of an episode of Ding Dong Dang, a Korean children's tv programme. Needless to say our kids were very excited and spent a few days before telling us all repeatedly that they would be going to see Ding Dong Dang. Well the day eventually arrived and most of the parents decided to bring the kids themselves so they collected their kids and and the teachers travelled with the few kids whose parents couldn't attend.
Ding Dong Dang was being filmed outdoors on a local soccer pitch and there were children everywhere along with numerous sales carts of candyfloss, balloons, toys, etc. We found our seats and I settled in for what I assumed would be an hour or so of me sitting in silence listening to people on stage speak Korean..I was right for the first 40 minutes or so! Then came the dancing!!
Now, I will shamefully admit that after a year my Korean is still pitiful so I tend to just follow the crowd at big events and at Ding Dong Dang all of the parents stood up so I stood up too. They started dancing so I started dancing too along with the other foreign teachers. This is when it gets interesting... next thing we knew our director Sarah was shouting at Vanessa and me telling us to go to the stage. Apparently the guy on stage had called us up. I squeezed out along the row of seats with Vanessa and walked to the side of the stage only to be told they wanted us ON the stage. With a quick look at each other with a "what's going on?" expression we climbed the steps and were joined on stage by maybe 4 other women from the audience. Luckily the presenter could speak some English and approached us explaining we were going to have a dance-off on stage against the other women. Oh-Oh!! No way to back out now.
In keeping with the amazement we are often greeted with in Korea the presenter proceeded to ask us our names, where we were from, etc. Naming our school was greeted by a huge cheer from our kids and their parents scattered throughout the audience. A large group of my kids and their parents were seated near the front of the stage and I could hear shouts of "Teacher Lisa, Teacher Lisa" amidst mad waving and jumping to catch my attention.
At this stage we were made to line up and the dance-off began. Dance styles among the mothers on stage with us ranged from hip-hop to ballet and all I kept thinking was how can I dance on stage in front of my kids parents without embarrassing myself TOO much! I decided to play it safe and go for simple silly dance moves. (Which Jannel our colleague recorded on her camera and is attached below). All the while being cheered on by my students as loud as they could.
Next the presenter asked if we were married Vanessa of course replied "yes" and I without thinking answered truthfully "No" to the presenters response of "Oh I know a guy" before pulling one of the stage hands on to the main stage from the back. Now at this point the audience were very amused as I was greeted by this Korean guy. We were made stand back to back as we played some Korean compatibility test game. The presenter counted to three and we had to turn our heads in one direction. If we both turned our heads the same direction we were compatible. One, two, three... opposite directions! Again, one, two, three...opposite directions. At this stage everyone was laughing and they decided one last attempt. One, two, three... opposite directions. After three tries and fails they eventually accepted that we clearly weren't compatible and sent the poor guy backstage once more.
Now needless to say neither Vanessa nor I won the dance-off and the presenter joked that we would go home with nothing but after a few sad faces we were given a Crayola art set and some body lotions. We walked off the stage and back through the crowd like minor celebrities as kids we don't even teach reached out to give us high-5's.
Yet another Korean experience to cross off the list..