German Lessons: Who are you, and WTF did you do with the real Germans?

Posted on 24.10.2011

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One of my classmates invited me to a Samba Night over the weekend, and I thought it would be smart to stop wallowing in my lonely misery (I’m not really, but you know what I mean) and get out and do something social. My energy has been at a major low thanks to my crazy-full schedule, but I wanted the opportunity to get to sit and talk to my classmates for more than just 15 minutes, which is about how much time we have in between class segments every day.

I don’t really know what I was expecting, but two things were certain in my head: there might be Samba dancing happening, and I don’t know how to Samba, at all. I thought it might be smart to watch some Samba videos beforehand, but I didn’t have time to do that because I spent the whole day hanging out with some friends!

BUT: for anyone who’s not sure of what ‘Samba dancing’ is, as I wasn’t, here you go:

So that’s kind of what I expected.

When I got to the venue, though, it was surprise after surprise. The first surprise was that it was being held at some Catholic or Christian school (I didn’t read the entire name, as it was just someone’s last name, but it definitely had those two words in the name as well) and I was all like, wtf?

As I approached the door, I could see that there was an admission table and a stand for snacks… but I couldn’t see any Samba-ing happening. So I paid and entered, not even sure if my classmates were there. I heard a lot of clapping from the door to the right, and so I went in.

There were chairs set up in an audience-format in front of a stage. My first thought was ‘I should have known there wouldn’t be a real dance floor’, but I tried to remain open and instead just looked around my the one classmate I was sure would be there: Nils. Nils is at leat 6’5″, so he’s easy to spot, even among the Germans. I found him pretty quickly. He informed me that the others had canceled last-minute, so it would only be us.

We went and got drinks, and he told me what was going on: it was a performance by different groups in our city. They all played Samba music.

That to me was another major WTF, since most of the German people I know aren’t very musically inclined (both ways: they like top 40, and they don’t seem to play music). After we got our drinks, we sat down and actually got to talk, and he informed me that although he was part Spanish, he also didn’t know how to Samba ‘correctly’. So we laughed about that.

Nils got up and danced a bit through the performance, but I was so wiped out that I just stayed seated. Honestly, I was almost too enthralled with what I was seeing to be taken away and distracted by dancing, although I DO plan to dance the next time one of these events happened.

I was enthralled and impressed for this reason:
There were, officially, 25 people on-stage. This was the second group. I liked the first group better, but these guys were more dressed up and more ‘into it’, I think. Check out that tall German dude on the far right wearing the rasta hat with the fake dreads attached… classic!

This was shocking to me on multiple levels.

I understand that all of my younger friends in the teenage age bracket like to do things after/outside of school like dance classes and budo, but none of my older German acquaintances (i.e., my large control group of English students) do anything outside of work, save for taking part in a few community parties and going to the gym or ‘making sport’, as they often like to say. There are kids, families, church to deal with on the weekends, so most of my students are lucky if they can even fit the fitness into their schedules.

Apparently, not all Germans are created equally.

It was also shocking to me because these guys were really effing good. Much better than the teenage dance groups I’ve gotten to watch. This means that they are dedicated enough to get together at least once a week and practice, with strangers (also odd for the Germans, they’re not as outwardly sociable as the Americans are), and even choreograph things.

Finally, it was shocking to me because they were enjoying themselves. I’ve learned firsthand that the Germans take EVERYTHING seriously, even their humor and amusement, to the point where it doesn’t even seem like it’s all that fun half of the time. So it was kind of awesome to see these people on the stage who were smiling and really having a good time.

It was also pretty badass to see German Samba enthusiasts who were NOT performing, just spectating, getting up and dancing the Samba. It was all kind of shocking to me, to see the German people actually let go for a few hours and have some fun. I don’t get to see that very often.

My last dancing experience at a night club didn’t go so well. Now I really feel the need to pick up dancing or music lessons again. I’m glad that the Germans are able to have fun and get their dance on, without liquid courage. I really need to go to more events like this!!!

Again what learned.

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Posted in: German Lessons