KPDC: Dream High
This past Friday was my third time attending Carnegie Mellon’s K-Pop Dance Club’s (KPDC) showcase. I think it’s safe to say that after attending a few of these events, I’ve now become somewhat more of a K-Pop fan. Before this semester’s showcase, titled Dream High, I was most looking forward to being exposed to new K-pop songs (and adding those new songs to my K-pop Spotify playlist). I was also excited about seeing all the group outfits, dances, and just learning a bit more about the whole K-pop culture. This year’s showcase definitely delivered all those things, and in some ways, exceeded my expectations.
My friend and I arrived at Rangos Ballroom in the Cohon Center about ten minutes early, and even then we noticed that there weren’t that many people seated in the audience. It was surprising because at previous events, the whole room was packed with people. I guess this was a good thing for me and my friend at the time, since it made it really easy for us to find good seats. However, as it got to the last minute before showtime, all of a sudden so many people started coming into Rangos. It really was fascinating to see everyone so excited to support their friends performing, and to also dance along to their favorite K-pop songs.
What was noticeably different about this semester’s showcase was that they were selling glow sticks for the audience members to wave around during the performances. The colors of the glowsticks represented the different dance performances, and I found that to be a clever way of showing support for the various dance groups. Having some of the audience wave around their glow sticks throughout the night surely added to the fun and upbeat atmosphere of the event.
This year, I was especially impressed by all the dancers and performances. Having several friends who are members of KPDC, I was told that people from all levels of dance experience join and work equally hard to put on a successful showcase at the end of each semester. For me, it was pretty hard to distinguish the more experienced dancers from the less experienced ones. One of my favorite performances was the opening performance with Blackpink’s “BOOMBAYAH,” which had a lot of upbeat vibes and hairflips. Other favorites of mine were the smooth dance with GOT17’s “Teenager” and the bubbly dance for iKON’s “LOVE SCENARIO.” The final performances of TAEMIN’s “MOVE” and BTS’s “Go Go” were two great dances to end the show. They also happened to be the dances that KPDC will perform at this semester’s Dancers' Symposium. I won’t say too much about those dances (you’ll just have to see for yourself at Dancers' Symposium), but what I loved most about them was how different the choreography was for both songs, yet they still fit perfectly together.
Something I realized after my third time attending the KPDC showcase, that I had never realized before, was how easily K-pop can bring people together. KPDC has so many members on campus and off, and it amazes me how their love for the music genre, the dances, and the overall culture is what drives them to work together to create a successful showcase like Dream High. So many people participated and attended the showcase to support their friends and be in a comfortable space where they could express themselves and share their love for K-Pop. There was one part of the showcase where Carnegie Mellon’s a cappella group Joyful Noise performed a musical tribute to Jonghyun, a member of the popular K-pop band SHINee who died by suicide last December. Before their performance, KPDC’s president, Alina Yu, spoke to the audience to raise awareness about mental health. Such a topic of discussion is very relevant today, as it affects individuals all over the world in various ways. She reminded everyone to support and be there for one another, and it was clear that everyone in the audience took her words to heart. I didn’t think I’d learn so much from my experience at this year’s KPDC showcase. I will definitely be attending their future events, and I encourage you to do same. You never know, you might learn something new and surprise yourself.