By Mudassir Raja
Traditional Korean dances and a Taekwondo show performed by agile artistes caught the attention of all eyes and ears for over an hour at Katara’s Drama Theatre on Monday evening.
The audience enjoyed the atmosphere and cheered the high-energy acrobatic performances by young Korean artistes, accompanied by loud music.
The performance was to celebrate the Korean National Day 2017 and was organised by the Embassy of South Korea in co-operation with Katara. The entry was free to the public, with the seats filling up fast. A good number of diplomats and their families were present in the theatre to enjoy the performances.
The programme began with an introduction of South Korea, its history, its rich culture, and its friendly bilateral ties with Qatar. The brief introductory opening highlighted the achievements of both South Korea and Qatar in different sports.
The first performance was Taekwondo, which lasted for about 20 minutes. A group of young performers showed different acrobatic stunts, captivating the audience with their almost inhuman moves.
The Taekwondo performers highlighted the different acrobatics that are involved in the sport, rather than its fighting skills. In a stunt, a young boy broke two wooden pieces that were placed as high as eight feet, with flying kicks. Other stunts included breaking of wooden pieces with flying kicks in groups and demonstrations of gymnastic agility.
A message from the embassy on the performance – called Kukkwon Taekwondo Demonstration – said, “[The] team is changing the paradigm of Taekwondo demonstration while maintaining its legitimacy. By holding demonstration performances regularly and as a tourism product, we are determined to making Taekwondo as the No. 1 content [for] cultural tourism in Korea as well as promoting Taekwondo and Korea on the global stage.”
The second performance was called B-boy Dance. The performance included different kinds of breakdances done by a group of young artistes called the Jinjo Crew. The performances coupled with colourful lights and high-pitched music turned the mood up. Throughout the hour-long performance, the audience remained glued to their seats.
The message from the embassy on the dance performance and the group said, “Jinjo Crew is a leading Korean b-boy group that has won numerous titles in international contests. The group is thus far the only one to achieve sweeping victory in five major world b-boy contests.”
“In addition, in 2014, the group won the ministerial prize from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism at the 2014 Korea Hiphop Award and serves as honorary ambassador of Bucheon city. Jinjo Crew is also an honorary ambassador for the prevention of child abuse.
“Through the successful hosting of the 2016 Bucheon B-boy International Championship, Jinjo Crew has proven its planning and operational capacities. By developing street dances and complex contents in various genres, it has contributed to the popularisation and development of the street dance genre.”
The b-boys presented different dances. One of their displays, called the Mask, was a storytelling performance. It showcased humour and satire through the use of traditional Korean masks. Their second performance was called Tah, which has already won the group many international prizes.
People from different countries and cultures attended the Korean show and they appreciated the performances. Rijo Mathew, an India expatriate living in Qatar, attended the show with his family. He said, “It was a very nice event. Everyone seems to have enjoyed it. The kids especially liked the show very much. We really enjoyed the Taekwondo show. I have seen karate shows earlier, but this was different.”
Robekah from Korea, who has lived in Qatar for six years now, said, “The show was really amazing. It was fantastic how the crew cheered up the crowd. We were all one in heart and mind. We really enjoyed it. I am really proud to see that Korean culture is being spread all across the world, especially here. I hope such shows will help improve bilateral ties.”
Yemi Mohinde from Nigeria said, “It was amazing. I especially liked the enthusiasm of the entire crew. I liked the performances and the culture of Korea. Taekwondo was fantastic. I am going to visit South Korea soon to see more of its culture.”
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