Monday, June 25, 2012

Street culture

Vietnam has a beautiful, rich culture. But working in Blue Dragon, I sadly see too much of the dark side of life here: kids who are abandoned or neglected; human trafficking; cruelty and violence; and on it goes. 

In recent weeks - in between dealing with the snakes that have taken up residence in my house! - I've delved into some fascinating youth culture that has been flourishing on the streets of Hanoi. Hip Hop dance. 

A few of the Blue Dragon kids are into the Hip Hop scene, and in the words of one of my staff they're often "throwing themselves around the floor" of our drop-in centre. Every night, they're off to one of several public locations where groups gather to dance. 

These groups are completely informal. There are no organisers, no guards, no rules; just kids gathering to dance to whichever flavour of Hip Hop music they're into. Girls are there as well as boys, and there are young teens right up to uni students. 

What's truly remarkable is how these self-organising groups get along so well. They space themselves out so that their music doesn't drown each other out, and the older dancers take time to teach the younger kids their moves. Instead of being competitive and 'in your face', they are incredibly supportive of each other. 

In fact, the final photo below shows, off in one corner, a man and woman practising ballroom dancing just metres from a teenage Hip Hop group - no problem at all! 

My visits to these places, ostensibly to watch the Blue Dragon kids dance, have given me a refreshing insight into a wonderfully positive aspect of modern Vietnamese youth culture that I otherwise had no idea existed!

1 comment:

Van Do said...

You're so great with words and powerful with the insights.