Hitting my students.

As if I needed another activity to prove my clumsiness.

I have been the butt of many lack-of-coordination jokes. Between my less than stellar athletic abilities and my comically warped eyesight, I tend to trip/misjudge/get hit by things/not catch things… you get the picture.

Despite this poor track record, week-ago-self decided that it would be a good idea to participate in Bulan Bahasa.  Current-day-self is questioning the wisdom behind that decision.  Bulan Bahasa, or Indonesia month, is a really neat celebration here at SPH that recognizes Indonesian culture.  Kids work on dramas, dances, and fashion shows that portray the culture and tradition of their country.

I am now a dancer.  Of traditional Indonesian dances.


I have never been much of a dancer (understatement of the year), but figured this would be a good idea for several reasons unrelated to my skill set.  First of all, it would be a first-hand way to experience and learn about different aspects of Indonesia.  Secondly, it would be a way to intentionally get to know some of the students.  Finally, it would be a fun way to exercise.

Upon my arrival at the first practice, I found out that there were three dances that would be performed.  

The first was a partners dance, featuring only 6 students.  Because I don’t particularly aspire to be twirled around by the high school boys in front of the entire school, this one was not an option.

Dance number two: plate spinning.  With real, ceramic plates.  Enough said.

So, dance number three it was.  This dance is called “tari saman”, and it’s a traditional dance from the island of Sumatra.  Basically, it’s a lot of patterned clapping.  Kindergarten Sunday School pre-prayer routine throwback?  

Not at all.

We’re talking some hard core, confusing clapping patterns.  That move as fast as those grocery store clerks on their number pads.

Spotted throughout the frenzied clapping are random big arm movements, leading to me whacking the student seated next to me.  Several times.

Needless to say, I have re-confirmed for myself that I am not coordinated and I am not a dancer. My ankles hurt from sitting on them, my knuckles are bruised from two hours of rapidly smacking them on the stage.  I think the others have realized that I’m a couple steps behind their natural Indonesian awesome-ness, too – I received a personal round of applause for my progress today!

All of that, though, only makes the challenge that much sweeter – trying new things is the best.  I’m working to learn the moves, and hope to be able to pull them off by the time we perform!  It should be a fun event – they’ll dress us up in the traditional outfit and makeup, and I will showcase my new skills alongside six other girls.

Here goes nothing!


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