The sprightly, youthful Gangnam style of dance, having billions of followers worldwide, just turned one this week!
In a way, it also signifies how fast a style or trend can spread through cultures in the age of Social Media. YouTube announced few months ago that the Gangnam clip has crossed over a billion pageviews since it was uploaded and it has of course catapulted the chubby, babyfaced dancer Psy to fame, money and glory like nothing ever.
And watch the way it has seeped through all the cultures. Within a few weeks of the original’s upload we have seen Buddhist Monks to Traffic Police, Old men in the park to natty office goers in Tokyo, from your pet cat to a dolphin doing their own parodies flood the YouTube. Even the world’s most powerful man Obama, is a self-confessed Gangnam fan [he has his daughters say he’s good at it ;)]. Even you and me, who only danced like no one’s watching in some Bhai’s baraat, have digested considerable GK on this new dance form…That Gangnam is the name of a stylish suburb in Seoul…That its popularity is even a surprise for South Koreans who are workaholics and are not much into dance…that Psy is an anagram for SPY etc, etc 😛
Yes, the popularity is phenomenal. But you know what…horsey dances, or dances imitating a horse rider are not new. They exist as Chaiti Ghoda Nacha in Odia culture, as horseback dance in Rajasthan and Gujarat and even in parts of south and north east as well.
Consider the Chaiti Ghoda dance, especially popular in rural Odisha. Literally meaning ‘Horse dance in the month of Chitra’ this folk item is connected with the Shakti cult of coastal Orissa. This festival is observed in the month of Chaitra from the full moon day to eighth day of Vaisakha in honour of deity Vasuli devi. The rider, a man with the head of a horse well-dressed and trunk built of bamboo and papier-mâché, dances to the tune of Dhola and Mahuri and to the tunes of songs composed by the local poets. The dancing party consists of two dancers, one male and one female, a drummer and a piper. The performing group consists of three main characters- Rauta, Rautani and the Horse dancer, besides the drummer and the piper. Rautani is Rauta‘s Co-dancer and Co-singer. The songs recited in the performance consist of various episodes from mythology. The horse dance used to be very popular and attracted a large audience in the days of yore.
But where Gangnam scored, and Chaiti Ghoda faded away was the former’s appeal and acceptance, and to some extent its convenience. For once it didn’t require an elaborate khola of a horse, and could be performed anywhere, anytime. Two, it was something novel, just as people were beginning to forget the age old charms of riding. Third, it‘s on yours and mine social network, could be shared with a click and thus went viral just because millions and billions of young (and young at heart) people liked it.
That gives me a brainwave!!! Eureka…let me invent a style involving riding an elephant…swaying from side to side and occasionally popping up of the trunk. I will shoot myself doing that and post it on YouTube. And I will name it the Chandakam style (a neighborhood of BBSR where elephants stay :D)
Broken Scooter, you can do your own ‘Broken Scooter’ style by kicking your right and left legs and doing some thela-pela motion (it’s broken right?). You can name it after your own neighborhood.
Let’s compare notes (alighting from our shiny Ferraris) exactly after a year.
I will leave you with DIY Gangnam style, try it out at your home and do tell me if you come up with something new.
Author– JD aka Somebuddy
(To earn a living he has done odd jobs, written paid news (without selling his soul), got fired, got sworn at and now handles communications for a Fortune 10 MNC. A typical NRO, you may say…though he HATES the NR part of it!)