As the clock hit 7:30 P.M. on the 21st of April, the Kambri Cultural Centre stage was brought to life with a retrospective look over a decade in K-pop.
I was invited to come along as ANU’s very own Korean Pop Culture club brought 12 K-Pop songs into a new light. Members from K-RUSH, the club’s dance counterpart, performed in various acts over the night, bringing the crowd to applause after every song.
I was quite nervous with the anticipation coming in to the night. I had never been to a show like this, and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I have very limited experience with K-Pop, but as soon as the lights went down, the excitement built up in both the crowd and myself.
K-RUSH Dance Showcase: A Decade in K-Pop began with free tickets, a packed audience and a pair of extremely funny hosts. Before long, the first group came out with a performance of Genie by Girls Generation beginning the decade, which set the crowd alight. Then a performance of Sherlock by SHINee.
I think this was one of my favourite performances of the night! The group was well put together, stylish and technically sound. I didn’t exactly know what I was going in to when the night began, but from this moment I knew it was going to be a good show.
K-RUSH as a dance group are very open and welcoming, evidenced by the different levels of dancers on stage. Each dancer added their own flair to the part and put in 110% to the performances. Every part of the dances was fun and vibrant, and it was clear how much the dancers enjoyed themselves. For 2012 and 2013, Electric Shock by (F)X and No More Dream by BTS were performed.
The audience was packed, with more chairs being snuck into the corners of the room as the show was supposed to start. Family members of the dancers, friends, and fans of K-Pop, as well as students who came on a whim made up the audience, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Some audience members were more enthusiastic than others, but each performance got a lot of noise. 2014 and 2015 were represented by Miniskirt by AOA and Just Right by GOT7.
The show then paused for intermission, so the audience could go out and stretch their legs, talk about their favourite performances, and purchase raffle tickets to go into the draw for the big prizes at the end of the night. Ten minutes was not enough time to adequately cover the number of things we saw in the first half, though we all hurried back for the beginning of the second half. We began with Cheer Up by TWICE.
In between each song, the hosts would come back out and select a raffle prize winner, with 13 rewards in total. Prizes ranged from albums of different groups, photo bundles and seemed to enlighten many audience members to new groups they had never heard of. There were three big winners at the end of the show, awarded with a bundle from multiple groups and also included vouchers from the sponsoring businesses.
I was invited to come in early, so I got to see a smidgen of the planning that went in to creating a night like this, and the dedication the creative team and directors had for the showcase. It was clear from the moment I stepped into the performance area that months and months of work had gone into this show, which was then revealed to have been years of work. COVID restrictions and shutdowns had postponed the show so many times that some of the dancers had been preparing since 2020.
I am not a fan of K-Pop myself, having only listened to the popular songs on the radio. But watching this show gave me a newfound appreciation for the music, the performances, and the groups. The amount of work that goes into each song is phenomenal, and each of the dancers put in hours of work to match the level of the professionals.
As the night came to a close, the last performance was from 2021, with ASAP by STAYC.
After some empassioned speeches from President of the Korean Pop Culture Club Mia, Dance Director Liv and Performance Director Chelsey, the audience were treated to one last surprise dance from all of the K-RUSH members. A short but lively dance to Shine by Pentagon, the showcase finished with a high energy bang.
The show had to end quite abruptly, as the stage had only been booked until 9:30pm, so as soon as the dancers left the stage, the lights came up and an announcement was made. The audience left the theatre, bursting with conversation points for the ride home. During my way out, I almost ran into a couple of people who must still have been in awe of what they had seen on stage.
All in all, ANU Korean Pop Culture Club put on a fantastic show. I would recommend any of their future shows and events, even if they aren’t performing as they are lovely people on top of talented performers. I thoroughly enjoyed my time, though I was looking forward to bed.
Photos by Yasemin Rogers