Imagine this: you are at the rehearsal before a dance flashmob. Trying to understand the explanations – all in Swedish, you suddenly hear the lead dancer asking: “Does everyone understand Swedish here?” Would the instructor and fifty-something dancers switch to English for one person’s sake? If you are in Sweden, the answer is: YES!
I remember the story one Korean friend told me a year ago, when I did my exchange semester in Austria. So his story went … “I’m in the kitchen, all absorbed with my cooking, when two Swedish guys come in. They’re talking about their own stuff, when I suddenly realize I can understand them… They started speaking English between themselves, because I was there in the kitchen!”
I never cease being amazed about how open-minded Swedes are. Last Sunday, I went to that dancing session without second thoughts about the language. I know the steps, and dancing shouldn’t be too much of a language barrier. But one shouldn’t underestimate the feeling of inclusion one feels when speaking the same language as everyone else. That’s why I couldn’t help but feel grateful to Maria, our lead dancer, for asking that question: whether everyone could understand Swedish.
I should drop a line about the symbolism of it… What we were rehearsing was Dance for Kindness, the flashmob to take place all over the Planet next Sunday, November 9, on World Kindness Day. I’ll make sure to share my impressions from the flashmob, so stay tuned!
Credit for the Headline photo: official Dance For Kindness 2014 banner. Official FB page here.