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'Gangnam Style' fever grips Mumbai!

Wanna look cool at the party tonight? Here’s a tip: Forget your hip-hop and salsa moves. Go galloping like a cowboy instead. Raise your right hand and swing your wrist as if you want to toss a rope. Bend your left one at the elbow, chest level. Shake your legs at the same time. There, that’s it! That’s the Gangnam step featured in South Korean pop artiste Park Jae-Sang aka Psy’s hit video Gangnam Style. The move, dubbed the ‘horse-riding’ step, and a couple of others from the same video are the latest rage to hit the party scene across the world. Chris Gayle and the West Indies’ cricket team boogied the Gangnam Style-way when they won the ICC World Twenty 20 championship, while tennis ace Novak Djokovic got groovy with it when he won the China Open title. And Psy is going to perform at the Formula One Korean Grand Prix this weekend. Any guesses what will be the coolest move at the teams’ parties?

T20 World Cup victory with Gangnam Style steps
Ga(y)le force: The West Indies’ cricket team celebrated their T20 World Cup victory with Gangnam Style steps. Pic/AFP

The best part is, Gangnam Style’s signature steps don’t need much practice to master. One of them is the pelvic thrust, a la our own Mithun Chakraborty. No wonder city dance enthusiasts are so happy to get jiggy to a Korean-language song they don’t understand. Says Sachin Dhivar, a Second Year Bachelor of Mass Media (SYBMM) student who is an avid fan of this step, “I’ve known about the song since July (when it was released). The step of the Gangnam style is very attractive and easy to do. Everyone knows about it so we get a good response from the audience.”

Gangnam Style
That’s the way to do it: Sachin Dhivar (c) and his friends Karan Raval (l) and Nikav Barucha (r) demonstrate the ‘horse-riding’ step from the Gangnam Style video. Pic/Suresh KK

Take it Eazeeeee
Kunwar Amar Singh, a finalist of Dance India Dance season 2 and the male lead in the TV show Dil Dosti Dance, agrees with Sachin that it is easy to dance the Gangnam step. “I have realised that those steps become popular which are easy to do even for those people who haven’t learnt dancing formally. Salman Khan’s step in Dabangg, for example. Anybody can do it. Gangnam style is a cool step. The song has a catchy beat and that helps. The video is also full of fun.” The step has already caught on in Mumbai’s party circuit. Says Kunwar, “I’ve done it in parties and enjoyed it. It’s a lot of fun. And it’s easy so a couple of people start dancing it at a party and 50 others join in.”

Novak Djokovic celebrated winning the men's singles' final at the China Open on October 7 by dancing the Gangnam step with ball boys and girls.
Djoking around: Novak Djokovic celebrated winning the men’s singles’ final at the China Open on October 7 by dancing the Gangnam step with ball boys and girls. Pic/AFP

Mad about fads
It being easy is not the only reason it’s a hit, according to hotshot choreographer Shiamak Davar. “Simplicity of choreography is the key. But the beauty of the step is that the guy is original. That’s what I tell all my choreographers – be original. Whether it is Kolaveri, Gangnam or Macarena, these are original ideas created by people with passion. I think it’s fun, I enjoy it, it’s a nice fad that will pass away with time, but Bollywood has had similar hooks in almost every hit song. Whether it is Sheila ki jawani or Dhoom machale, every hit Bollywood song has a hook.” Sometimes, he says, the artiste is just lucky. “Luck plays a big role in these situations. In Gangnam Style, the video also has a lot of humour. The music and dance complemented each other. Children and senior citizens at my school love to do the Gangnam. You may say he is not good, but if something makes people happy, then it is a great thing.” In fact, the popularity of the Korean-language Gangnam has shown that “dance is an universal language,” says Shiamak.

Shiamak Davar during a concert
Let’s dance: Shiamak Davar during a concert. Pic/Bipin Kokate

So very funny, no?
Amey Mehta, dance director at Temperance The Culture Hub, believes that the similarity with Bollywood dances is one of the reasons Gangnam has “become like a cult video”. “It is very funny,” he says, “Every song has its unique selling point. In Gangnam’s case, it is amusing because it is closely related to Bollywood, but is not Bollywood and is not being done by an Indian. That makes it funnier.” Amey, who has danced to the song at parties, accepts that this fad too will pass with time. “Look at Zumba. It became trendy because aerobics got too monotonous. One day it will be replaced by something else. Change is the only constant.”

Hey, hotsteppers
Choreographer-cum-director Remo D’Souza recalls that this is not the first time an Oriental artiste has made a splash in a field ruled by western dancers. “There was an album called Sorry, whose steps were very famous.” He doesn’t think much about the Gangnam. “It is only a step some guy randomly came up with, not a style of dance,” he insists. “I don’t think even he thought it will become such a big hit. I haven’t seen it but I have heard a lot about it making waves all over the world.” Remo says that you can never know why a certain style or step becomes popular. “Take Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk for instance. One or two guys started talking about it, others began to write about it and it became famous,” he says.
So what are you waiting for? Get Gangnam grooving.

What is Gangnam?
Gangnam is a posh district in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, quite similar to Mumbai’s SoBo area. Residents of the area are supposed to be classy and trendy. Those who want to imitate them call this style, the Gangnam style. According to Psy, the video jokes that he is a follower of ‘Gangnam style’ when he has intentionally kept everything – from the clothes to the locations – as far away from high class as possible.

Gangnam Style sets Guinness World Record
On September 20 this year, the officials at the Guinness World Records accepted that ‘Gangnam Style’ is the most “liked” video in YouTube history. It has more than 2,141,758 likes, beating Adele’s ‘Rolling in the deep’, Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ and LMFAO’s ‘Party rock anthem’. Incidentally, Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun has agreed to represent Psy in the United States. He announced in a YouTube video that he hoped they could “make history together”. Recently, Britney Spears confessed on Twitter that she was a huge fan of the Gangnam Style.

South Korean pop artiste Psy dances the Gangnam step at a concert.
Trendsetter: South Korean pop artiste Psy dances the Gangnam step at a concert. PicGetty images

Signature celebrations
>> Tennis players Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi made chest thumping their style. The aces used to thump their chests together after a win, or a great shot.

>> The Brazilian football team used to break into the Samba after a goal or a win. With the wins getting rarer for this celestial team, the Samba spirit seems to be fading.

Usain Bolt and his trademark gesture.
Attaboy! Usain Bolt and his trademark gesture. Pic/getty images

>> Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt makes the sign of a bolt post winning, living up to his, ‘bolt of lightning’ moniker.  

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