While many students went home for spring break, the Apache Belles packed their suitcases to perform a series of shows in South Korea.
“We were very fortunate to have had the chance to go to South Korea and see a whole new place,” said Danielle Montemayor, a freshman Apache Belle. “It was an unforgettable spring break spent over there.”
Seoul is the largest city and the capital of South Korea. It houses many U.S. military bases and soldiers. The Belles performed on Sunday, March 9 for our military men and women, and Korea natives more than 6,500 miles away from home, at Camp Humphreys military base, just outside of Seoul.
“We have heard that the people of South Korea love the western style of clothing and are fascinated by our uniforms. We (couldn’t wait to) entertain them with a style of dance and precision movement that they have probably never seen before,” said Jasilyn Schaefer, director of the Apache Belles.
The Belles had spent months preparing for the trip by learning 14 dances, including their famous high kick, and hosting several fundraisers.
Last year, more 100 representatives of the Belles and the Apache Band performed in Tyler’s sister city, Yachiyo, Japan, to show off a little of their cultural differences and to gain knowledge of the similarities that the two cities have. This year’s performance overseas, however, was much different as they performed three shows and interacted with the students studying in Seoul at Gyeongju University on Monday, March 10.
“Getting to visit with these students was such a great learning experience and cultural exchange,” said Schaefer. “It was life changing having interacted with college students of the same age and experience the culture.”
The Belles had a chance to entertain the public as they performed at the City Hall Plaza in downtown Seoul during the busy lunch hour. A South Korean cheer team and marching band also performed with the Belles.
While the sophomore Belles traveled last year to Japan, freshmen Belles got a new taste of culture while visiting a Korean temple and observing the individuals working in Seoul.
“The people dress with very trendy and classy fashion in Seoul. Their trends in South Korea are very city-oriented,” said Montemayor. “I have never gotten to experience the world … it was my first time really traveling. We got to see a temple and go view the city from a tower. I learned about the country’s history and it was very interesting. Though there was a communication barrier, the way the South Koreans greeted us was very friendly.”
In addition to the three performances, the Belles spent a majority of the week visiting several historical sites to pick up on some American war history that took place during the Korean War and see a Taekwondo team demonstrate their expertise.
As the second half of the spring semester begins, the Belles pick up where they left off, rehearsing for another show. The Belles are saving their famous “last dance” and high kick of the semester for their home in East Texas.
“We (took pieces from our upcoming) 2014 spring show to Seoul, which is completely different from last year,” says Kayla Coston, sophomore and captain of the Apache Belles. “Our upcoming show’s theme this year is “Quotes, Quips, and Clips”. We have a variety of styles of dance that we will be performing on top of what we performed in South Korea.”
The 2014 Apache Belle spring show, which will feature some of the same routines that the Belles took with them to Korea, will be April 3-5 in Wise Auditorium. Performance times are 7:30 p.m., including a matinee at 2 p.m. on April 5. Tickets are on sale now at www.apachebelles.com. The public is invited to attend.