Google "Gangnam" or check out "Gangnam Style" on YouTube — overwhelmed as yet? You've just joined millions and millions of people all around the world in their obsessive fascination over the new dance phenomena. The world is crazy over this new dance style; or perhaps the new dance is driving the world crazy. Whatever the scenario, the popular dance style has surpassed a record 400 million views on YouTube. Many of us are caught up with what psychologists are calling the Gangnam effect. We have found ourselves addicted to the hype; and some of us are even fuelled by an obsessive need to learn the Gangnam style (horse dance) as silly as it might be.
Dance can have powerful physical, emotional, mental and emotional effects on people's lives. The Lambada, the Macarena and the Waka Waka are a few of the phenomena which have had tremendous effects on people worldwide. Now the latest dance phenomenon, "Gangnam Style" by Korean pop/rap sensation Psy (Park Jae-sung) has transformed the global dance landscape.
Images of West Indies batsman Chris Gayle celebrating "Gangnam Style" after the team's T20 semi-final victory against Australia flooded the Internet. Following the West Indies victory in the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup final against Sri Lanka, the West Indies team was dubbed as the "Gangnam Gang" in newspaper headlines after they celebrated with the famous Gangnam Style dance. From celebrities to athletes, young and old, people throughout the world are celebrating Gangnam Style. The dance has also spawned numerous parodies on YouTube.
The Express spoke with psychologists who weighed in on possible reasons many of us find our selves caught up in the dancing frenzy. One psychologist, who said he was not a social psychologist but was still willing to share his views on the dance euphoria, said people gravitate to whatever makes them feel happy. He noted that the euphoria of something new and popular and exciting offers people an opportunity to de-stress and be carefree. People are looking for happiness, he said, and the dance is an opportunity to express themselves. "The dance is what is happening now and it's new and it's popular. It's exciting, fun and it makes people happy. People are looking for happiness. They are looking for something to take them out of stressful life's situations, even if it's for a while and the dance does that. It offers a feeling of joy; to be carefree and not have to worry about anything else," he said.
He added: When the world saw Chris Gayle doing the dance people related to it; they felt his joy; they knew he was happy because they could relate to the dance. It's just a dance that makes you feel good and makes you laugh and enjoy the moment. This is what people are looking for, they want to enjoy the moment," he said.
Psychologist, Courtney Boxill, said social media is responsible for people's addiction to the new phenomenon. He said the power of social media should not be underestimated. "Social media has a great influence on our lives. I heard about the dance; millions of people have taken up the new craze and even though it came from South Korea it doesn't make a difference. People are relating to something they could identify with," Boxill said. "The dance is new and it is addictive; people have taken to it because it is different and popular," Boxill said.
Meanwhile, Secretary of the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psychiatrists, Varma Deyalsingh sees the dance as a universal expression. He said it represents a common thread that people can relate to. "It's a universal expression and this is why different people from different parts of the world may gravitate to it; they can identify with it; the dance has the same effect on people all over the world. It is a global cultural effect which makes people identify with a dance from a different nation."
Trinidad and Tobago has caught on to the Gangnam Style big time, with various entertainers already capitalising on they hype. Crossover chutney group Dil-e-Nadan has a remix of the "Gangnam Style" tune with the Kishore Kumar classic "Mere Sapnon Ki Rani" from the SD Burman movie Aradhana (1969). Musical Director of the group, Richard Ramnarine said he first heard the about the song when a friend had sent him a link to the video via BlackBerry.
According to Ramnarine, "I wondered what the hell this is, but the beat was sounding good. I told Raymond (Ramnarine) he had to hear it."
Raymond Ramnarine suggested they do a remix with the Kishore Kumar hit and the tune has since become quite popular on Indian radio stations.
"Now my kids are doing the dance," laughed Richard. He added: "Dance music is the craze around the world. That song (Gangnam Style) is so catchy. If Chris Gayle is doing it then it is going to be even more popular."
Besides doing the dance, the song is equally popular with many people also singing the song's refrain "Open (Oppan) Gangnam Style". Psy has recently become a global sensation with his song. He has ranked number one on iTunes in 30 countries and has ranked number two on the US Billboard Main Single Chart 'HOT 100'. Gangnam Style was recognised by Guinness World Records as the most "liked" video in YouTube.
Gangnam is an extremely wealthy neighbourhood in South Korea, populated mostly by wealthy young people. It is often likened to Beverly Hills or the Upper East Side of New York City. "Oppan Gangnam Style," roughly translates to "your man has Gangnam style." If you haven't googled or hit up YouTube and if you've never heard the term "Gangnam" or "Open Gangnam Style", you're probably still in the age of the Macerena.