For one night, Laura, Esther and I headed to Busan for the 6th Annual Salsa Festival. I didn’t realize just how big salsa was until I went. Yeah, there are a few groups here in Daegu, that focus on teaching salsa to a t and then dancing the night away. I guess being at the beach and seeing such a large group of people made me see just how interested Koreans were. According to Busan Haps,
Koreans liked the dance so much that in the early 2000s, they started holding salsa congresses, big, weekend-long events that involve social dancing, performances and dance workshops. […] By 2008, salsa was so popular in Korea that multiple congresses would be held around the same time. This was a big change from the almost non-existent salsa scene in the whole of Asia just ten years prior.
When I got there it was a bit intimidating to see. Koreans, as is in their educational nature, are extremely hardcore when it comes to their studies. Salsa is no exception. You can see in their moves that they’ve practiced a LOT, it becomes a solid choreographed series of moves. So you can imagine as a Latina, I feel a bit embarrassed that I don’t know all the moves, or that they aren’t sharp enough. Though I grew up with this kind of music, salsa and merengue were the natural things played at birthday parties and barbecues, it was something that I never got really good at until I came to Korea. Go figure, right? The foreigner group (aka my friends) who taught it to me, though we practiced each Saturday night… it felt like we did it for the sheer fun of it. We were a bunch of ragamuffins getting together to have some fun. In other words, we don’t practice the ballroom salsa you see in a lot of the Korean groups. For me, my background is “street” salsa, what your uncle Carlos was doing and trying to teach the kids. My friends, who attend salsa parties more often than I do have told me how Koreans have been so surprised when my friends tell them they don’t take official lessons. That they’ve practiced from just doing it at parties.
The night was amazing! Laura, Esther and I felt like we came, we danced, we conquered. We knew it was a successful night when we felt like we were showering in sweat. Seriously, it was so disgustingly awesome! Korean men, especially the ajossis, are just so good at dancing! The oldest man there somehow moved me in a way that I ended up doing a little kick mid-air like a happy-go-lucky leprechaun! Only thing that bugged me was feeling all paparazzied out, I know I know..I sound paranoid. But there is a difference between onlookers who are curious and taking pictures, and then there are the creepy voyeurs that you know are there to get off on filming and taking pics of a bunch of girls. Anyways, we just had to ignore them and enjoy our night anyways.
We ended the night with some chicken and beer, and then strolled around until we found a love motel. We had this amazing poem written on the outside of the motel in front of ours. Oh Korea, and your little charms ^_^