‘Welcome Home’ impresses with dance
A night that celebrated Korean culture with food, games, dancing and pop music galore, “Welcome Home,” this year’s Brandeis Korean Student Association culture event, proved to be quite a hit. The packed Levin Ballroom was filled with students and fun activities throughout the whole night.
The Executive board introduced themselves with a humorous video parodying a Korean Drama and then opened the event with musician Jae Jin, a Korean-American singer/songwriter, who performed about five songs, both covers and originals. His voice and acoustic guitar combo wooed the audience, he also told the audience his story about how he ended up in the music industry after dropping out of an Ivy League program and surviving cancer twice. Songs like James Bay’s “Let it Go,” “Hallelujah” and an original “Ain’t About Love” showcased his smooth vocals and really set the stage for the rest of the talent to follow.
BKSA invited Wellesley College’s Korean Fan Dance team to perform a short dance that incorporated elements of nature such as “wind, waves and flowers,” according to the event’s program. The dancers wore beautiful traditional Korean dresses, a modern take on a Korean tradition since the 1950s, and choreographed the moves to show ornately designed colorful fans creating different shapes and imitating wave-like motions.
The second vocal act of the night, Brandeis’ own all-female a cappella group Up the Octave, performed three of their signature songs: Toploader’s “Dancing in the Moonlight,” Journey’s “Lights” and Zedd’s “Clarity” with Jenongmi Seo ’18 and Ruxuan Zhao ’19 soloing. Act one, ran smoothly and the interactive intermission followed. Called “K-nite Karnival,” during the short interim between the two acts, the audience could play Korean games and win prizes such as yummy snacks, as well as take snapchats with the BKSA “Welcome Home” geotag, specially created for the night.
Act Two consisted of a series of dance numbers, the most popular performances of the night. Different groups performed routines to K-pop songs and featured several dancers. These energetic, pop-style and upbeat dances got the most applause and drew the most excitement from the audience. The rotating dance troupes all seemed like professionals, using hip-hop elements and wowing the audience with their intense movements and wearing hip clothing such as ripped denim and leather jackets — Woojin Choi ’18 , Leo Kim ’17 and Vivian Li ’18 headed some of the dances and definitely charmed the audience.
To end the night, BKSA hosted an interactive “game show” with hosts Dong-Min Sung ’19 and Yoon-Jae Lee ’17 where they chose volunteers from the audience to play fun, short games — one involved slamming items intensely onto the ground. The winners of these games were rewarded with prizes such as “Choco pie” — a popular Korean kid’s dessert consisting of a marshmallow chocolate snack cake — and a pack of ramen. The first game, called “How High Can You Go?” tested players to sing a scale back and forth, incrementally singing higher and higher until the one opponent could not go any higher.
Next, a game similar to “telephone,” requiring a large group of players to act out movements in response to a word — “soccer,” for example, and in another round, “Katniss Everdeen.” Watching the players boisterously make unintelligible body movements made the audience laugh hysterically.
The E-board dance was the final act: another pop group routine with E-board wearing coordinating outfits and then pairing off to little partner dances. After the performances ended, BKSA served a complimentary dinner which included delicious scallion pancakes, kimchi, rice and fried chicken for audience members — definitely one of the many highlights of the show.
With the constant vocal support from the audience throughout the night and the diverse performances, this year’s BKSA successfully put together a culture event which takes months of planning and coordinating. Everyone seemed to have a great time — the interactive games especially made the event unique and fun, all the while highlighting rich Korean culture.