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Cultural show aims to spread Korean ‘Seoul’

Marcy Miranda

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A fashion show, stepdancing and a Korean rock solo guitarist were among the acts showcased Saturday night in Ryan Family Auditorium in the Technological Institute as part of the annual Korean Culture Show.

The show, “Got Seoul?,” was put on by the Korean American Student Association, one of Northwestern’s Asian American student groups. Hosted by Korean American comedian Daniel Cho, the three-hour event attracted about 250 people to celebrate Korean culture, both traditional and modern.

“We used this event to showcase Korean traditions and showcase Asian American traditions,” said Education junior Vivian Han, president of KASA.

Performers included a traditional drum troupe, stepdancers from Northwestern’s Asian fraternity Lambda Phi Epsilon, a hip-hop dance group and Kun Young Kim, a solo guitarist from Korea.

The highlight of the night was the performance of the BJH Dance Group from South Korea, said Han. Comprised of 15 girls who are students at Hangyan University in South Korea, the dancers are experts in three traditional Korean styles of dance, as well as traditional drumming.

In between the performances, Cho raffled off prizes to audience members and made lighthearted jokes about Koreans in the United States, often poking fun at his experiences growing up as a first-generation Korean American and of the stereotypes surrounding Asians in the United States.

“Korean adults need to stop using the middle finger to point,” Cho said, recalling an adolescent experience in which a friend of his asked Cho’s mother for directions to the bathroom and mistook her pointing for an offensive gesture.

With little funding from Associated Student Government, KASA members asked for donations from various Korean businesses and restaurants to obtain more resources for the show’s production.

“Out of the 13 E(xecutive)-board members, eight went out from 2-10 p.m. asking for donations door-to-door for three to four weeks straight,” Han said.

Compared to last year, the annual Korean Culture Show offered a more diverse range of professional and student acts.

“We usually have a lot of student groups and acts put on by E-Board members,” Han said. She noted that last year, some members were trained in Tae Kwon Do for six weeks prior to the show.

Han added that KASA was “extremely lucky” in getting the BJH Dance Group, as the group was already in the United States.

“A man told us they were coming for Skokie Festival of Cultures, and they wanted to get as much stage time as possible, since it’s their first time in America,” Han said.

Although Han said she feels the show improved from last year, she said KASA’s main goal is to better provide for the performers.

“Our performers get gypped due to funding,” Han said.

For many students who attended the show, this was the first exposure they had to traditional Korean dancing.

“I’ve never been to a Korean show,” said Almita Miranda, a Weinberg freshman. “There was a lot of variety, from the traditional to the popular and the urban — it was very productive.”

Miranda noted that it is important for people to see the various facets and traditions of different ethnicities.

“I come from a predominantly Latino neighborhood, and I think it’s important for non-Asian Americans to come and learn about Asian culture,” Miranda said.

Other students enjoyed seeing the variety of acts the show offered.

“I liked the mixture of old-school traditions and the new school stuff,” said David Lee, a McCormick junior.

He felt that it was important for people to take away something from the show.

“People should take away some of the culture and traditions of your ancestors,” Lee said.

Reach Marcy Miranda at [email protected]

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