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Korean Culture Show blends traditional with modern

Acts showcase individual talents, share artistic expression of cultural identity with community

After dining on Mama Kim’s, audience members gathered to watch “KTX: Korean Time Express,” the ninth annual Korean Culture Show Saturday night. With acts representative of modern and traditional Korean culture, the show featured Rhode Island School of Design and Brown student performers as well as guest performers Junghee Oh and DANakaDAN in the RISD Auditorium. The show was a collaborative effort of the Brown Korean American Student Association, the Brown Korean International Student Association and the RISD Korean Student Association.

Peter Kim ’16, KISA executive board member, said the annual show gives Korean students the chance and the space to appreciate their culture and express their individual talents.

The show’s main purpose was to share Korean culture with all students on campus, said Nicole Park ’15, KASA president.

Though this year’s show featured less RISD student participation, the fewer acts were “more polished as a result,” Park said. “We were all really happy with the turn-out and the performances,” she added.

Eric Han ’16 and Isabel Kim ’17 co-emceed the show, offering comedic introductions to each of the acts. Brown Hansori opened the show with traditional percussive Korean music. The last act before intermission was a collaborative dance between the hosting organizations, DAEBAK and the Brown K-Pop Dance Association to K-pop music with K-pop-inspired choreography.

The blend of traditional and modern continued in the acts following intermission. A few students acted along to a recording of a skit derived from romantic comedy, “My Sassy Girl,” and the traditional Korean folk tale “Gyeon-woo and Jik-Nyeo” — a story of two lovers who battle to stay together despite a long-distance separation. Guest performer Junghee Oh sang and played the gayageum, a traditional Korean folk instrument.

DANakaDAN, a musician and Korean adoptee, spoke with the audience about his struggle in identifying as Korean-American and discussed the meaning behind the lyrics of his popular YouTube songs. He then rapped, closing the show.

Darius Chyou ’16, a member of KASA, said he was “pleasantly surprised” by DANakaDAN’s performance. “It was really nice how much he engaged the audience and got the crowd pumped up,” Chyou said

The support of spectators was evident throughout the show and during the intermission — performers flooded the audience and were greeted with hugs and praise.

Park said these bonds of support characterize KASA’s tight-knit community. “KASA has just become my family at school,” she said.

Following the intermission, Han and Isabel Kim requested a moment of silence to honor the life of Hyoun Ju Sohn GS, a Korean graduate student who died last week.

Like the cultural show, KASA holds other events during the year that encourage investigation and appreciation of Korean culture; typical workshops include food tastings, dance lessons and movie screenings, Park said.

“Everyone in KASA is very happy to share their culture with everyone,” Chyou said. “Even though I’m not Korean, I’ve always felt welcome.”


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