No matter what anyone could say, this was the “golden age of dancing”. It’s been a while that dancing is a must to succeed as an idol star and be a “flower” of the mainstream music scene. The fact that contestants of the recent trend of music audition programs show their talent throug dancing is another natural consequence. As this was lacking on TV, talent programs based on dance on public TV networks are everywhere. SBS “Kiss and Cry”, MBC “Dancing With The Stars” are the representatives of this genre.
Street dance is the origins of this “dance boom”. Before that, street dance was considered as non-mainstream. It developed with the explosive popularity of Seo Taiji & Boys in the early 90’s and rose to the status of a mainstream cultural genre.
The performances of the b-boys famous for their flashy break dance were recognized as an advance guard for the national image publicity. No one but Choi Seung Min from the Young Turks Club knows better the history of dance in Korea. Let his words take you back in time of his unofficial history about the first generation of dancers in Korea.
Until the day I found the “Moon Night” (club), I danced along what I watched on TV in my neighborhood. Thinking that I must learn how to dance on a professional level, I joined a dance company. However, the dance style I was learning over there didn’t meet my expectations. I think it was lacking this “feel”.
After asking around, I found out about this place in Itaewon called “Moon Night” where you could find all the best dancers in Korea. So I went with no particular perspective in mind. Once I got to Itaewon, night club touts asked me “where are you from?” and I replied “I came to Moon Night…” Oh my, aren’t they directing to the wrong place with strip shows and bagger’s songs and all? I did manage to find the Moon Night in an Itaewon alley, though.
Moon Night Club ! The place where all the best dancers in Korea gathered. Except for my memory tainted by people wearing black clothes and this dashing and daring atmosphere, I have no other memory of my first encounter with this place. I still remember how the ones wearing black clothes rolled in around 3AM and were having a good time while dancing with various steps and body waves.
As I got acquainted with Moon Night, I got to know people. And I talked with them about the best dancers. At that time, the best dancers were Lee Juno, Yang Hyun Suk, Kang Won Rae, Goo Joon Yup, Kim Young Hwan, Hyun Jin Young, Ji Young Hwa, Kim Dong Chul, Park Chul Woo, Kim Jung Nam and Nico. The dancer I watched was Kim Young Hwan.
The dance and fashion culture linked to this new genre called hip-hop burst onto this scene. This was when I started to see this 1st generation of dancers I had only heard about. As they wore large t-shirts and baggy jeans while showing their hip-hop moves, each of them had his own way to ride the rhythm and showed their skills and this feel.
The hip-hop feel Kim Young Hwan and Ji Young Hwa gave off was particularly good. Kim Jung Nam and Nico’s breakdance moves stood out. It hadn’t been long since Kang Won Rae and Goo Joon Yup had come back from the military, so they had a command of the old dancing style. I didn’t know how it was in the past, but those days didn’t stand out for me at that time.
“Choi Seung Min’s Dance History” will be posted every Tuesday and Friday. Stay tuned!
Do not take out, not even excerpts. Thank you for understanding.