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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

K-NITE brings Korea to campus

Published: March 30, 2012
Section: Arts, Etc.

The Brandeis Korean Student Association (BKSA) invited the campus to “Explore Korea” at K-Nite 2012 last Friday night in Levin Ballroom, which was decorated with hanging banners and colorful streamers. Bright booklets on the tables displayed the food and landscape of Korea with chocolate gold coins imprinted with “BKSA” at every seat. A large portion of the club’s budget for the night was spent on decorations and advertising. While many of the decorations were unnecessary, the added ambiance to the evening made it a more enjoyable performance.

Abraham Jung ’14, a member of the E-board, spoke about what he thought was the best part of the evening. “I thought K-Nite was an absolutely stunning night because there were so many non-Korean individuals, which gave the show a wonderful opportunity to present Korean culture to a non-Korean audience. KSA is about sharing Korea and I feel that K-Nite really fulfilled just that.”

The night began with an instrumental piece featuring Jinwoo Lee ’15 as well as with traditional Korean instruments such as the flute, cello, violin, alto saxophone, drums, bass, janggu and gayageum.

Samulnori, a group that showcased just the drummers of KSA, followed Lee’s performance. As the simple drum patterns repeated, they became more complex and added an element of interest each time the tempo or the beat changed. The performers themselves became more comfortable on stage as the show went on, moving to the beat and drawing in the audience.
BKSA brought in an all-male a cappella group from Boston University called KSoul. Unfortunately, problems with the microphones made it difficult to hear the lead singer against the background vocals. When they could be heard, however, their voices blended together melodiously and their harmonies were perfectly in tune. Before the last song, one of the singers disappeared behind the curtain and came back with a red rose for each member of the group. When one of them pricked his finger, a collective “aww” came from the audience. At the end of the song “Pretty Woman,” the boys came down from the stage and each gave a rose to a girl in the audience, earning them more giggles. Rather than feeling forced, the show felt genuine.

A folktale skit performed by Brandeis students started off slightly awkwardly: It was difficult to tell if it was supposed to be funny or serious. When Adrienne Thompson ’13, who played the swallow, came on stage flapping her arms around in imitation of a wounded bird, the audience burst out laughing and the laughter continued for the rest of the performance. Complete with “Angry Birds” costumes at the end, the skit was ridiculous and silly, but it was funny enough to make for an entertaining watch.

After an intermission, the skit was followed by the KSA Band, a seven-person group with piano, guitars, trumpet and drums. They received an energetic response from the audience during their set as they played well together. One song, “Red Sunset,” I recognized almost immediately because they had performed it at APAHM just the week before. Although it was nice to know one of the songs even though I couldn’t understand the words, I would have preferred to see something different rather than the same performance twice. The vocals verged on shouting at times, but the performance drew a great response from the crowd and was a nice contrast after the more traditional performances.

In between sets, “tour guides” emceed and short video clips were played to introduce the new acts. The tour guides were bubbling with enthusiasm, but they sometimes struggled with their lines, slowing down when saying the names of the acts and speeding up during the colloquial parts.

The modern dance was one of the other highlights of the show with each song showcasing the incredible dancers of Brandeis. The performers moved fluidly, making it look effortless. Sometimes they moved so quickly that it was hard to catch all of the small movements they had made but they nevertheless made the choreography both complex and amazing. The last song had a more relaxed feel to it. As the performers were laughing and having fun themselves, those watching felt as if they were a part of the motion on stage as well.
Bulletproof Funk was probably the best performance of the night. It’s unfortunate that they were dancers from Boston University rather than from Brandeis, but they were absolutely incredible to watch. Breakdancing, spinning on their heads, moving exceptionally quickly in ways that looked nearly impossible, they were impressively talented.
The evening concluded on a more traditional note with the Fan Dance. When the bright pink fans moved in synchrony, it looked as if they were all connected to one gently shaking disk rather than to the performers moving their fans in a circle. The authentic costumes matched the fans in color and design.

K-Nite gave students a chance to explore Korean culture and see their friends shine on stage.