During the Olympics, the Korean Tourism Organisation has been sponsoring a K-pop vocal and dance workshop in Chelsea Town Hall. The results were on show today at the 15th annual Korean Festival organised by the Korean Residents Society.
I think I managed to miss all the traditional performances this year – the otherwise informative programme of events failed to mention what was happening when – and instead caught some K-pop cover performances by Hanuri Crew, some tuneful western songs from Park Jun-ho (including Heroes, in honour of the war veterans present), and then the K-pop class coached by K-pop directors Kim Song-sik and Choi Ki-wang.
Hanuri Crew were bang up to date with their dance covers: their set included BoA’s Only One (released last month) and Psy’s current internet hit Gangnam Style. They had Psy’s horse-riding dance down to a T. The graduates from the K-pop class understandably had been rehearsing slightly less up-to-the-minute tracks including Girls Generation’s Gee and Twinkle plus 2NE1’s I don’t care. They were a very popular act with the audience.
In between there was a demonstration by young students of Korea’s latest martial art: Teuk Gong Moo Sool (특공무술 – literally “Special Force Martial Art”). This is a particularly brutal art, which aims at “the rapid interdiction and submission of an opponent”. According to the current Wikipedia article it was developed to aid South Korean special forces after a North Korean agent managed to give three South Korean commandos a thrashing using a North Korean martial art.
More genteel entertainments were available. There were the usual food stalls and bouncy castles, plus some face-mask painting. I was sorry to have missed Theatre 4 All’s Bong San Mask Dance performance: they have been active in the past few weeks supporting the Olympic torch relay and other community events in Kingston, producing a very visible face of the Korean community.
We were lucky with the weather this year, but regardless of the weather the day is always a fun family event for both Koreans and westerners. Thanks to the Korean Residents Society and many sponsors for making it happen.