Sunday, July 10, 2011

Graduation Ball Waltz Video

On June 18 the liceu (high school) where I work hosted its annual Graduation Ball, which is the Moldovan version of a Graduation Ceremony rolled up in prom.  It is for all the graduates, as well as teachers, families, and the rest of the village in general.  The evening begins with the Ball, which includes speeches, flowers, and a releasing of the doves, and then moves on to a feast at the local banquet hall (normally used only for weddings), where the feasting, dancing, and toasting go until sunup, at which points the graduates depart their parents to watch the sun rise over a lake on the outskirts of town, and continue their celebration with barbecue and more feasting well into the next day.

Not so different from American Prom, this is the occasion when many boys buy their first suit, and the gown shopping for the girls, well, I guess some things just transcend cultures.

This year, the graduates decided they wanted to perform a waltz at their ball.  For reasons still unclear to me, they also decided I was the most qualified person to teach them how to waltz.

The trophy, erm, statue, I got for teaching.
So, beginning back in May, we started going over the basic waltz step.  A month and a half later, after most of the class became casualties and the traditional Viennese Waltz was declared "insane and impossible" due to its speed, the remaining four couples danced beautifully to the first waltz I've ever choreographed.

One of the beautiful things about Peace Corps is that one inevitably ends up teaching things one is dramatically under-experienced in and has little relation to the primary program assignment.  Prof. John Riker and Marcia Dobson, wherever you are, I'm glad I dropped in your ballroom dancing classes during that last month of college.

Oh, and afterwards, they embarrassed me with a far too gracious speech and this statue.  Very Moldovan.

Another beautiful thing about Peace Corps is that even when you don't fancy yourself a dance teacher, it doesn't make you any less proud of your students at the end.

So, without further delay, the Waltz of the Graduates.

(Email viewers will need to enable images to see video)

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