Looking out at the rather dull day I am having today, it would be hard for me to believe that the weekend was full of summer sunshine if I hadn’t got a little toasted at the Thames Festival on Saturday. After a long walk from St Pancras to Waterloo and then a nice short one along the Thames to the OXO tower, I found the area dedicated to the Korean section of the program. Aside from the tantalising smell of Korean BBQ, the main focus was the stage with its backdrop of an ancient house. The seating area was the rather damp grass so, after my jeans went soggy I sacrificed my jacket as a seating spot to watch the first show of the day – ‘Last For One’ the S. Korean B-Boy crew.
The energy theses guys have is quite amazing and, having stuck around for 2 performances, the joy they get out of repeating the routines shows a great love for what they do. Break dancing, body popping, robot dancing – the variety of styles was fascinating especially when executed with such talent! The second show had some small changes that kept it fresh and made it tempting to just sit there all day and watch over and over.
The highlight for me, however, was being able to watch ‘Jump’ for the first time. The slapstick, acrobatic, martial arts troupe had me laughing so much, and confirmed for me that Korean humour translates very well for the International audience. The troupe themselves, I noticed, were often trying not to laugh at the scenarios, but even they were surprised when, having selected an audience member, he did the forward roll they had challenged him – before they could stop him.
It was a really enjoyable afternoon for me to be crisping in the sun and watching the shows and, after a small wander about to seek out the source of BBQ discovered the free kimchi pancakes which were delicious. The BBQ chicken skewers tempted me the most, but I have to confess I was so busy looking at the food I didn’t realise it was a stall run by friends of mine until I didn’t have to pay! I wished I could have stayed longer, but isn’t that the best sign of a great day?
Many thanks to the Korean Cultural Centre for their sponsorship (and participation in Jump!) and of course to the performers themselves who really entertained and hopefully encouraged more Londoners to take an interest in Korea.