Recently, I had the opportunity to act as something of a guide for a group of university students from Texas. They came for a couple of weeks to help at our language center and to travel around a country they likely would have never seen otherwise.
As part of their preparations for coming, this group of seven Texan travelers learned a couple of dances to show to the students at our center. The idea was to expose each group of students, both Kyrgyz and American, to one another’s culture and allow them to interact and discuss life. It was a great time.
Being from Tennessee, I am familiar with country music, but I’m not an avid fan. This group of Texans included some serious country fans. They left their mark on our students in Karakol and on people all over Kyrgyzstan, from Talas to Kyzil Kia, as they line danced to “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” and to “Cotton-eye Joe.”
For our Kyrgyz friends, this was the first time they had ever heard of line dancing or either of these two songs, but they joined right on in with the Texans. Our big end of the year party at out student center was a great success, largely due to our new friends from San Antonio and their willingness to invest in coming to Kyrgyzstan. Now, the next time I travel to southern Kyrgyzstan, maybe I’ll find all new line dances being done to local music, mixed with a little American country music.