Nine performers dance a modern routine in a night showcasing the talents of UR’s Korean community. Photo by Shermain Signh, Staff Photographer.

I’ve been to Korea Night before, and it has always been an enjoyable experience, so I truly looked forward attending this year’s performance. But I came out of it a tad underwhelmed. There was just something missing in this year’s show. The show, on Saturday March 19, contained two parts, a skit and the performances.

This year’s skit was centered around the theme “Korea’s Got Talent.” As the show progressed, there were pauses in which acting was intertwined with the rest of the event. Now, when a skit is delivered in pieces inserted throughout the main portion of a show, one expects the skit neither to interrupt the general flow of the show nor to take the audience out of the experience of the show as a whole. Korea Night certainly ailed at this principle. I found this incredibly odd and unexpected, as a skit about a talent show should not feel awkward in a show whose main portion exhibits talents.

Three performers sat as the judges — stereotypically using the personalities of Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell from “American Idol” — while another performer would come on stage to present his or her “talent.” These moments were obviously intended to be funny, but I couldn’t help but grimace at every attempt. The skits produced the opposite of their intended effect and greatly detracted from the immersive experience that should be part of any performance. Last year’s Korea Night had a skit that was essentially a romance story — this year’s integrated skit was a complete departure from this — and I felt that they did a better job last year.

The romance story was cohesive with plenty of humor and drama. The performances flowed well with the skits, and I left completely satisfied. That’s not to say that I didn’t leave Korea Night satisfied after this year’s show, but the skit was definitely not my favorite aspect of what the night had to offer. All that aside, the performances themselves shined once again this year. Each group that participated was memorable in their own distinct way, but, in general, all the routines were legitimately strong.  Rice Crew and UR Breakdance showcased incredibly choreographed pieces. It was a delight for the eyes to watch each movement and as each performance continued, the feats they exhibited became more impressive. Breakdance and the HON drummers were both returning performers from last year’s Korea Night.

The Fan dance demonstrated a lighter and more elegant dance than the previous routines, whereas HON gave the audience an intense beating of drums that harkened to an older, more traditional time and contrasted nicely with the other modern performances showcased that night. Almost all of the performances employed a number of impressive special effects, including smoke machines, strobe lights and a variety of colors. Instead of distracting the audience and detracting from the performance, they actually enhanced it.
I found myself immersed in the sights, sounds and emotion of the moment. I enjoyed each performance and was greatly anxious to see the next. It’s very difficult to describe many of the acts, because it is an experience one has to have for his or herself, and few words can explain how amazing they were.

So where does that leave Korea Night?  The skit was definitely the most lackluster element, but the performances themselves were great. However, I don’t think I could argue that the show was brought down all that much by a poorly written and a poorly acted story. For all the faults that Korea Night had regarding this year’s plotline, the performances themselves were very solid, and that’s what I would think people had the most expectations for when they went to Korea Night.

The enjoyment I felt from the performances far outweighed my distaste for the story they picked. Was it an immersive experience? For the most part, yes ­— I was engrossed in the songs and dancing, so much so that I wish it had lasted longer. I would definitely recommend going next year if you didn’t catch this performance, and I will definitely be going again to have another great cultural experience.

Minahan is a member of the class of 2012.

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