What is the Hokey Pokey? One teacher at Emporia State University in Kansas believes it is the most effective way to balance the flow of chi in your life.
Emporia, Kansas – You put your right foot in. You put your right foot out. You put your right foot in and you shake it all about.
For dance guru Ivanna Pardi, the Hokey Pokey – a cooperative dance that became popular in the United States in the 1950s – really is what it’s all about. In fact, Pardi believes the famous group activity has deep spiritual implications for those who take part in its repetitive movements.
“It’s all about the movement of your chi,” said Ivanna during a recent interview. “The Hokey Pokey is, completely by accident, the most effective means to improve the flow of chi through the human body. Better than meditation. Better than Tai Chi. Better than listening to Yanni.”
If enrollment in the class she teaches at Emporia State University is any indicator, others are buying into Pardi’s beliefs. More than a hundred and twenty students have signed up for the fall semester’s Hokey Pokey for Life 103 already, forcing the college to schedule four classes rather than the one originally planned. Other students are already clamoring for a spring reprisal of the class.
“It’s amazing, man,” said Todd Guntwaller, who is just finishing his freshman year at Emporia. “You put your right hand in, you put your right hand out, and you can just feel the power of the universe flowing through you! It’s the biggest ‘Woah!’ moment you’ll ever have.”
Todd – who, along with a dozen other students, signed up for Ivanna Pardi’s inaugural class this spring – is among the handful of people evangelizing Hokey Pokey for Life. He volunteers four hours a week in exchange for a scholarship paying for him to take Turn Yourself Around 213, the second-stage Hokey Pokey class also taught by Pardi, next spring.
Some faculty at Emporia State find the enthusiasm expressed by Guntwaller disconcerting, and several have approached the school’s academic dean with requests for an investigation into Ivanna Pardi’s recruitment tactics and curriculum. Rumors circle among students, as well, about a cult forming around Pardi’s out-of-the-box teaching methods and subject, one infused with sex, drugs, rock-and-roll, and the devil himself.
“It’s like one of those 80s things,” said junior psychology major Herman Goode. “Like the whole Dungeons & Dragons scare, or rock music. I bet if you played the Hokey Pokey backwards, you’d find a satanic message!”
So far, however, there is little evidence to suggest Pardi is teaching anything other than bog-standard Eastern Mysticism dressed up in a classic party song. She insists it’s all about changing the lives of her students.
“You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about.”