From its opening with junior Elmer Kang singing the Korean National Anthem to its humorous closing commentary on interracial dating, the Korean American Student Association’s annual Korea Night was an impressive display of tradition and talent.
The event filled the lower level of Strong Auditorium last Saturday night. KASA Activities Manager and one of the evening’s MCs sophomore Jack Collins said he considered it “a huge success.”
Following the national anthem was the Fan Dance, a traditional Korean dance made up of motions that mimic forms found in nature. During its introduction, Collins called the dance a “showstopper” ? and he was telling the truth.
The dancers’ motions were fluid and graceful, accented by the movements of the fans they held. All of the women wore hanbok, a traditional Korean costume, and the variations in color provided an eye-pleasing accent to the dancing.
Another of the traditional displays was the Drum Dance that opened the second half of the show. The performance was high-energy from the moment the performers came down the aisles towards the stage and it never let up for a minute.
Using gongs and two types of drums, the performers made wonderfully rhythmic music while dancing around the stage. This dance was traditionally used to ensure bountiful crops, and was performed in the fall and spring.
Junior Andrew Kim wore a hodori, a hat with a long ribbon attached to the top. Kim danced around the stage spinning his head, creating unusual patterns in the air with the ribbon.
There were many other powerful musical moments in Saturday night’s performance. Freshman David Kang and junior Hee Won Lee sang the tune “Star” by the Korean pop group T.E.A.M.
Eastman School of Music students freshman Mikey Chong and sophomore Alex Apelbaum and UR junior Eun Jung Huh performed two musical pieces by In Sun Lee, a Korean composer.
Korea Night was an even mix of traditional performances with aspects of modern Korea.
The modern dance and K-Pop segment that was choreographed by junior Hyun Joon Kwon demonstrated that the Korean pop music scene doesn’t just mimic MTV, but has a style all its own. The music was a mix of techno and pop, and were accompanied by high impact dances.
Freshmen Chris Gu and Roy Kim, and sophomore Jamie Park danced during the tune “My Lips” by S#ARP, showing off their difficult spins and turns.
The Tae Kwon Do display was by far the crowd favorite for the night. This traditional martial arts form has gained some popularity among young people in the last few years, and the students on stage demonstrated much skill.
A series of difficult tricks were preformed that amazed the audience. Freshman Roy Kim ran up the crossed arms of three men to leap into the air and kick a wooden block that was being held high above the ground in one of the night’s most impressive moves.
All of the demonstrators broke wooden blocks with their hands and heads and junior John Sunwoo broke an amazing four concrete blocks with his fist.
The event ended with a skit entitled “Cultural Admission” which dealt with the some of the issues modern students deal with in an interracial relationship.
Korea Night was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday night. It was a colorful and upbeat display of how heritage can mix with modern day and is not to be missed next year.
DeSantis can be reached at email@example.com.