Belly Dancing, Jeju, South Korea
Welcome to Goeunhee Dance school (고은히 댄스 스쿨), a place abuzz with both eager young students and older Ajummas. It’s owned by a lovely charismatic woman bearing the same name. Go Eun Hee has been teaching dance for over twenty years. Three years ago, she decided to start her own school. The three years have been very successful for her, most likely due to her unique dance philosophy and welcoming nature. Go Eun Hee believes that dancing should both be fun and a great way to get exercise. As such, she modifies dance techniques so that they are easy to learn for beginners. This philosophy has brought her good results. Before she opened her own studio, Go had a “following” – Kendra Pugh and a group of other women followed her around from studio to studio. When she finally settled in her new studio, so did they.
Go Eun Hee’s enthusiasm for dancing has spread both to her two daughters, who partake in various classes, and to her instructors, who put their heart and soul into teaching. The belly dance instructor, Kim Min Kyung, is no exception. Her welcoming smile and attempts at English communicate her friendly attitude. Like Go Eun Hee, she has an interesting history. A relative beginner to the dancing world, Kim Min Kyung only started dancing five years ago. She came to the dance school intending to teach another form of dance but Go told her she had the body for belly dancing. She then began to learn belly dancing while teaching it three years ago. Now, Kim’s grasp of belly dancing techniques are sound and her love for the dance is great.
She even scouts the internet for music and dance moves before making up her own routines. Her music choices mirror her eclectic tastes. Students belly dance to a wide range of music, from popular western music such as Ricky Martin’s La Vida Loca and Christine Aguilera’s Candyman to traditional belly dance music. Korean pop and rap music are also danced to.
Being a non-Korean speaker can hinder understanding the complexities of a particular dance move, but one can usually figure out what to do by watching the demonstration. In addition, Kim is good at coming over to correct stance and posture. Korea may seem like a strange place to learn belly dancing, but with all the free time that we may have on our hands, it’s a great way to both experience the culture and stay fit at the same time!
Goeunhee Dance School is unique in Jeju-do as it is the only school that offers more than one type of dance. Other smaller studios offer only one type of dance, such as belly dancing or Jazz, but none have as extensive of a line up. Goeunhee Dance School hosts classes in hip hop, belly dancing, jazz, tae bo, “Diet Dance”, Latin, Pilates ball. The list goes on. Each class is offered at least twice a day. The price for one class is 100,000 won a month or 250,000 won for three months. The fee for an additional class contains a 60% discount, equaling a mere 40,000 won. Another option for students is a monthly fee of 150,000 to attend as many classes as they wish. The studio is located in Sin Jeju, just up from the Emart rotary and across the street from Hi Mart. See jejulife.net for details.