Junne Park/ Senior Staff

With the recent threats from North Korea and the mobilization of both Koreas’ militaries, tensions heightened on the Korean Peninsula, shifting the world’s attention to these divided nations. In fact, the two Koreas have been technically at war after their conflict in the early 1950s ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. Three years of fierce fighting left only devastation for these two nations, but both nations have grown drastically in their own sovereign governments over the past 60 years. South Korea, where most Korean students at the UR are from, has become an economic powerhouse in East Asia and one of the fastest growing nations in the world. However, despite the span of time that has passed, horrible scars and memories from the war remain within the culture and lives of the Korean people.

Korea Night 2013, presented by the Korean American Students’ Association (KASA), brought the audience into the fictional second Korean War of 2013 and two boys’ race to achieve their dreams of becoming singer-dancers. In the midst of chaotic times, the show depicts Chase and Eli’s journey through childhood flashbacks, struggles to reach their dreams, and inevitably, their fates of success and farewell. As the story continued, the excellently placed performances of traditional Korean Fan Dance, K-Pop dances, Tae Kwon Do, percussion, and an unforgettable RICE Crew filled in the gaps between the chapters of the drama. Every single performance was outstandingly presented. As an audience, it did not take any doubt to see how much painstaking effort and precious time were spent to prepare this beautiful show. Moreover, as a Korean-American student, it was a proud moment to witness how much the Korean culture has grown outside its borders and gotten a chance to connect with a diverse, international community such as that of UR.

Throughout the show, numerous traditional performances took place. Presented third in the entire event, the stunningly beautiful fan dance performance was the first traditional showcase during Korea Night. Vibrantly colored outfits captivated the audiences’ attention along with the dancers’ outstanding choreography. Subsequent traditional shows included powerfully coordinated Korean Percussion Group and highly disciplined Tae Kwon Do,  which decorated every minute of the show.

Mostly, the night was filled with powerful, charismatic dancers and singers who demonstrated their talents through modern Korean culture. Ranging from an acoustic set by sophomores Brian Shin and Hyung-Chul Shin to a group of freshman girls dancing to girl band SPICA, Korea Night offered tons of fun and entertainment.

One performance that was unforgettable was PSY’s “Champion,” presented by PSY&Co. consisting of sophomores Saehoon Kim, Max Yoo, and Ben Shin. Opening with PSY’s famous quote, “All of you who know how to enjoy tonight’s show are this world’s true champions,” PSY&Co. pumped up the existing enthusiasm to the next level, bringing laughter and applause.

Last but not least, RICE Crew and freshman Minsoo Kim’s solo dance performance concluded the fully heated Korea Night. Kim (who also played the role of Eli) completed the show by expressing his sorrow for his lifelong friend Chase’s death during the war. Korea Night 2013 was an excellent display of Korea’s ever expanding cultural influence.

Commonly represented by a tiger, Korean culture is characterized as being passionate and resolute, which were shown by disciplined and powerful performances. Concurrently, the beauty of past and present Korean culture were also presented to the audience through various demonstrations of dance and music.

South Korea is a nation with not only a vibrant culture, but also a dark past through war and separation of families. Watching Korea Night and its fans was proof of how much Korea has overcome its scars of war and made its way to an international stage.

Lee is a member of 

the class of 2015.

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