▲ Dancers kicking up the sand at Samyang Beach at Jeju Furey Dance Party 1. Photo by Chris Moule
Samyang Black Sand Beach played host to dance, volleyball and frivolity on Saturday, July 17, as the venue for Jeju Furey Dance Party 1. The event was a fundraiser for the Furey Foundation, set up by Dan Nabben to initially assist the widow and sons of fellow teacher Nathan Furey, who died last March, aged 34.
During the daylight hours at Samyang, players served and spiked volleyballs over nets erected by Nabben and volunteers the previous night, while less active beach-goers ate at the beachfront restaurant, Samyang Gyejeuleum Shikjeom. Come 8 o’clock, with the heat and light of the sun waning, amplifiers pumped swing music over the sand and shore. A sparse and dance-shy group gathered but most seemed content to sit along the boardwalk stairs and benches. Nearly all of those brave enough to kick up the sand and dance belonged to the Swing Island dance club.
As the evening progressed, more people arrived. Self-lit Frisbees were tossed back and forth along the beach, fireworks were shot out over the sea and then, at 11 p.m., the style of music changed from swing to club and dance. That switch brought more dancers to their feet and seemed to appeal to the foreigners more than the earlier, Korean-dominated dance group.
The event raised 240,700 won from a suggested donation of 5,000 won, which bought 15 raffle tickets for cakes from Jeju Cakes by Christine (see Sweet treats, page 6). This money will be given, Nabben said, not to the Furey family but to another local family that is in immediate need. “We’re currently looking for that family,” he said, “preferably a family somewhere in Iho, because that’s where we’ve held our prior charity events”. Nabben has approached a local priest and the municipal office to help identify the new beneficiary. He said that keeping the charity local was a decision inspired by fellow expat Fred Dustin, who is well-respected for giving back to his local community of Gimnyeong.
The prior charity events consist of three Jeju Furey Volleyball Tournaments at Iho Beach, with a fourth scheduled for Oct. 9 and 10. Funds have also been raised through auctions and other events. Prior to the dance party, “well over 20 million won, before expenses,” had been raised, Nabben said, and given to the Furey family. We’ve raised a lot of money for Nathan’s family,” he said. “Time to do something for somebody else.”
Future fundraising events will continue to use the Furey Foundation name, “because the foundation started in this way.”
“The events are getting bigger,” he said. “The volleyball tournaments have nearly doubled in size.”
The idea for a dance party came, Nabben said, when, at the first tournament, the Swing Island members brought their sound equipment in order to have a Swing dance party in the Iho Beach gazebo.
“I was further inspired a month later at JejuStock where lots of foreigners were dancing on the beach during the final act.”
Two more dance parties are in the process of being planned, although no dates have been set yet. When organizing such events, Nabben said, the necessity of a fluent or near-fluent Korean speaker to help cannot be overstated. He also emphasized the need to plan well in advance of the event’s date, allowing time enough to double- and triple-check everything. With that in mind, he said, law enforcement and dealings with municipal officers are typically “very reasonable” and pose no serious obstacle.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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