Chinese People Love to Dance – I Think.

So much has happened in the world while we’ve been in China, and it’s a bit surreal to be here while we hear news of tornadoes in the South and of course, the death of bin Laden.  It’s a unique feeling to be praying from this side of the globe (the news about bin Laden has been big here too), and I think it shows how our hearts are with folks back home.

In an attempt to move toward a more light-hearted topic, Tina and I have had an amazing time here.  I’ll write a summary post at the conclusion of our time in China (which ends Saturday), but I thought I’d share this one observation that perhaps others can comment on.

One reason our trip has been so delightful is because we’ve had an opportunity to spend a lot of time with Dave Hong, a trusted friend from back in the States.

Dave is both hilarious and insightful, and that’s a really good mix when spending time with someone over multiple days.

One of the things that Dave has pointed out is that wherever there is an open space and moderate-to-good weather on a particular evening in China, one is bound to find a group of Chinese people dancing a choreographed piece to a song piped in from some mysterious location.  Here are Dave’s words to us about these gatherings…

Who leads these gatherings?  It’s hard to tell.

Who selected the music? It’s hard to tell.

Who choreographed these pieces?  It’s hard to tell.

Who brought the music?  It’s hard to tell.

Who can join these clusters?  It seems like anyone… but it’s hard to tell.

One thing that has been abundantly clear is that Chinese people love to dance (although, when these clusters of people gather to dance, the people are usually stoic and stone-faced.  Puzzling).  Now, of course this is a crazy generalization, and it’s hard to stereotype over 1 billion people in the world, but this observation seems to corroborate another observation I’ve had – at Chinese weddings I’ve been to/officiated, Chinese people love to dance.

So in case you didn’t get the sequence there, here’s what I’ve observed:

Chinese people in China love to dance in random clusters in the evening + Chinese people (1st generation immigrants and 2nd generation in the States) love to dance at Chinese weddings =

Chinese people love to dance.

Now, this isn’t that unique considering there are many cultures that love to dance, and perhaps even more so than the Chinese.

However, I’m really interested in comparing my experience in China with my experience in South Korea, both East Asian countries.

Well, I should be more specific and say that I’m interested in comparing my experience of Chinese-American weddings and Korean-American weddings.

In my observation, at Chinese-American weddings, when it’s time to hit the dance floor, every generation of Chinese folks hit the dance floor with gusto.

In my observation at Korean-American weddings, it’s like pulling teeth to try to get people to dance (it’s virtually impossible to get 1st generation immigrant folks to dance).  This was always the biggest puzzle for me when I emceed Korean-American wedding receptions – how do we get people on the dance floor?

Has anyone else experienced this?

Why do Chinese-American people like to dance at weddings while Korean-American people do not like to dance at weddings?

P.S. I realize there’s a large fraction of people who read this blog and have never attended a Chinese-American nor a Korean-American wedding, so you might have nothing to say other than, “there are lots of good Asian dancers on America’s Best Dance Crew!”  To that statement I would say, “Yes, that is true.”  And I would also add that “My Filipino brethren can definitely move with the best of them.” 🙂


5 responses to “Chinese People Love to Dance – I Think.

  1. LOL. IMHO, Korean have too much pride to just break out into dance. Though I have to say, I’ve seen some 1st gen Ko-Ams dance at weddings and it’s really sweet and hilarious! (their bodies don’t quite move to Western beats…) Let us not forget, Korean b-boys ARE the best in the world. I don’t think anyone will argue with that. =)

    • yeah, i hear ya on the pride thing. i’m wondering too if it’s bc my background is with korean american Christians, which might be more of a conservative bunch.

      but yes, b-boying is the best in south korea. word.

  2. Pingback: Highlights From Our Time in China | while waiting

  3. Would love to see some pics of Chinese dancing!

  4. Pingback: New Beginnings. | while waiting

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