We stopped for the night at WAHMA, Wausau Area Hmong Mutual Assistance. WAHMA has a dance group. We saw about six or seven of the dancers, mostly girls about 10 to 12 years old. (All were related, except for the girl in the green dress.) They all wore traditional Hmong clothing. The skirts they wore had very small pleats and looked too heavy to dance in, but they did fine. Most of the dance was girls walking into formations, turning around, and stepping side-to-side with their hands and arms in different positions. The song they danced to was about a girl saying to her ex-boyfriend that she wished time could turn around, and at this point in the song the girls started turning around and walking away from each other...
After a little dancing, they invited us to come up for a dance lesson. First, they taught us to step side-to-side. Next they taught us the peacock movement, here you put your pointer finger and your thumb [in the air] and twist your wrists...The dancing was great.
On our trip we got to learn a Hmong dance. The people who taught us were children! The girls wore traditional Hmong clothes. It is rather hard to explain the dance, but it was basically side-stepping and turning with the feet and legs and LOTS of graceful movements with the arms and hands. That dance was so beautiful when the Hmong girls did it, but I felt clumsy. Now that I know a couple of Hmong dance moves I could probably make up my own Hmong dance. What I learned from this besides the dance was that all cultures have dances and all of the cultures’ dances are different. I never really liked to dance until I learned that Hmong dance.
We were learning the same song they danced and it was really hard! You have to be REALLY coordinated. A lot of us could do the stuff with our hands but not with our feet.... Their teachers, Mai Choua Mova and Pam Vue, are really good. They’ve made movies. They danced for us and they really know what they are doing.