KPDC Concert: Checkmate

CMU's KSA and University of Pittsburgh's FRESA bring K-pop to the masses

Michelle Madlansacay Apr 17, 2017

I’m not one who listens to K-pop often. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever even listened to a single K-pop song before attending the Carnegie Mellon K-pop Dance Club’s (KPDC) Showcase: Checkmate event. I do, however, have a lot of friends who love the genre. It was because of my curiosity and wanting to know what all the hype was about around K-pop that I decided to go to the event. The event was KPDC's very first showcase, designed to share the dances club members had been working on all semester

The show included performances by a variety of KPDC dance troupes, along with three guest performances featuring the dance group FRESA from the University of Pittsburgh and KASA Dance and KSA from Carnegie Mellon, all performing both song and dance covers to the music of popular K-pop artists such as BTS, GFRIEND, and Red Velvet.

The set list featured a truly dizzying array of K-pop songs. Different Asian foods were being sold throughout the performances by other student organizations, including Carnegie Mellon's ARCC, Taiwanese Students Association, and KASA, making the entire event a fun and exciting cultural learning experience.

What I found most fascinating were the outfits that the performers in each group wore. Before the show started, I’d seen some performers going over last minute things in the hallway, and it was amazing to see how vibrant some of their outfits were. Some wore very bright floral dresses, while others even dyed their hair purple, bright red, and rainbow. I also noticed that solid colors were a common for almost all of the outfits, making the performers pop. From bright red shirts with plain white bottoms to outfits that were completely grey, there was variety in how everyone was dressed.

Once the performances began, the audience was able to see how all clothes from each group fit into their performance. For example, in the dance performance of “1 Step 2 Step,” by K-pop girl group Oh My Girl, the outfits worn were all bright white and blue to fit the very cute and sweet theme of the song. Comparing those outfits to those from the performance for “Boom Boom,” by K-pop boy band Seventeen, the dancers wore black bomber jackets and much darker colors for the cooler and more hardcore feel of that song.

I was very impressed by all the dancers and singers in the show, and it was clear that everyone who participated gave their best efforts into their performances. Specifically, the dancers started at very different levels of experience, but once the groups got on stage you couldn’t even tell the difference. Almost all of the dance numbers were fast paced and seemed very complex, but the performers were all in-sync and pulled everything off.

Overall the event was a fun time for both the performers and audience members. Although being exposed to the K-pop culture was a very new experience for me, I definitely enjoyed it, and I will try listening to more of the genre in the future.