The Korean American Student Association gave student performers the opportunity to shine at its annual cultural showcase at the Ryan Auditorium Friday.
The 2019 show, With Love, KASA (이번 년도, 카사랑), was centered around the theme of Korean dramas, as was the accompanying KASA comedy skits that played between acts.
“I definitely think our skit shines this year," said Weinberg junior and incoming internal KASA president Eugene Kim. “We came up with a pretty good script, both really funny and really dramatic, in accordance with our theme.”
The sketch, titled Gangsters over Flowers, starred several KASA members as characters in a hilarious yet harrowing tale of romance, hardship and sacrifice. The story also, much to the audience’s delight, played off of many stereotypical Korean drama tropes.
“This recent spread of Korean culture outside of Korea to other countries across the world, I think a lot of it has been because of Korean dramas,” said Weinberg senior and outgoing external KASA president Joshua Yoo. “The stories, the music and the food that they portray can really give non-Koreans a taste of what Korean culture is like.”
Yoo served as an emcee for the show, alongside incoming external KASA president David Kwon and KASA member Justine Kim.
The night began with a performance by SoriBeat, a Korean folk music youth group from the Global Pungmul Institute. The SoriBeat members delivered a powerful start to the showcase with their percussion-heavy act which included four different types of traditional Korean instruments.
Students took to the stage next to sing several popular Korean ballads and songs, including “Trust” by GFriend, “All I Wanna Do” by Jay Park and “Kill This Love” by Blackpink.
After a 10-minute intermission, groups of student dancers took to the stage to perform an energetic medley of hit KPOP songs, a genre famous for its complex choreography. The line-up included a variety of music from the genre, such as “Thanks” by Seventeen, “Black Dress” by CLC and “Yes or Yes” by TWICE.
“This was my first KASA show, so I promise I’ll get better,” said Weinberg freshman Lewis Oh, jokingly. Oh, who’s also a member of student dance teams Refresh and Fusion, wowed the audience alongside his fellow performers with a dance cover of “Idol” by BTS. “It was a bit rough preparing for it, but I think it really came together in the end. And I had a lot of fun.”
Northwestern’s Taekwondo Club were next to wow the audience. Students watched in awe as members performed stunning feats of strength, showing off some powerful stances and demonstrating different techniques of board breaking and spin-kicking.
“It was a rush,” said McCormick freshman and Taekwondo Club member Candace Pang. “We put a lot of effort, time, and love into making the show the best it could be.”
The showcase ended with a performance from the show’s headliner, rising Korean-Canadian R&B solo artist Kim Hyeong Jun, better known as Junny. Students rushed to the front of the stage as he performed several original songs, including his hit songs “For the Weekend” and “Handle You.” Junny also gave audience members an exclusive performance of the title track from his upcoming album, Vivid, Pt. 2.
“You guys gotta turn up, okay? You guys gotta turn up,” Junny said as he returned to the stage for a final encore.
Before the night came to a close, the outgoing KASA presidents took to the stage one last time for closing remarks, bidding audience members goodbye and thanking everyone for coming to see the show.