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A sweet cup of culture at K-Nite Café

By Jamie Wong

Section: Arts, Featured

March 21, 2014

Levin Ballroom, usually drab and more like a gym than a formal space, transformed into a chic café last Saturday night. Brandeis Korean Students Association (BKSA) went all out and made sure the guests really felt like they walked into a café instead of a shabbily decorated ballroom. From the well-decorated tables to the wood paneled backdrop, coupled with a gold sign spelling out “K-Nite Café,” the atmosphere was set. The theme introduced all of the guests to Korea’s contemporary café culture and the light-hearted, almost flirty mood that comes with it.

One of the most common ways an event can go wrong is with a boring host, but BKSA avoided that blunder with their dynamic duo MC Grace and MC Eugene. Armed with witty skits about ideal types and Eugene’s charming but ineffective attempts to win Grace’s favor, the pair started the night off on a sweet note and continued to entertain the crowd through the night. Next came the usual E-Board Video, introducing all of the members of the E-Board, which let the guests go on a speed date with each member. Ranging from cute to funny, each introduction had the crowd laughing, cheering, aww-ing or all of the above.

The performances started off with a bang with the one, the only, WONE. A guest rapper with a dream, he delivered verses in both Korean and English. One of the catchier tracks, titled “Rain,” had a hook any guest could appreciate and a mixed track of “Rocketeer” by Far East Movement had the crowd singing along. After his high energy performance, the next act from “The Acafellas” directed by act leader Tammy Chung ’14 left the crowd with smiles on their faces after their sweet tunes and short charming skits about the two lead singers and their unrequited love. Even sweeter were the red bean bun treats from Tours Les Jour, one of the more popular Korean bakeries.

K-Nite then took a cultural turn with a Korean Traditional Fan Dance called Buchaechum. Led by Brontte Huang ’15, the girls spun around in brightly-colored traditional Korean dresses called Hanboks. It was a gorgeous performance rife with bright visuals, elegant movements reminiscent of waves or flowers and grace.

At the end, Huang spoke about Brandeis Liberty in North Korea, LiNK, and their mission to spread awareness about the troubling situation in North Korea. She also announced their upcoming event on Apr. 10 where a group from the main LiNK group will hold an interactive presentation about the challenges the North Korean people face and how they can be helped. True to the Brandeis spirit, activism is always present at events and activists for World Slum Day were also there encouraging students to join the movement and silence their voices so that urban slum dwellers can be supported, empowered and heard.

Everyone’s heard of Korean Pop, more commonly known as K-Pop, at least once. It’s one of the most well-known parts of the “Hallyu” (Korean) wave that swept the world. If not, now’s the time because the songs are insanely catchy, the idols perfectly poised and crafted for the camera and the dances are always impressive to watch. The Modern Dance act kicked off with the girl group and their charming cover of Apink’s “NoNoNo” dance, which was accompanied with the loud screams of their male fans like a true Korean music show. Next was a sexy rendition of 4minute’s “What’s Your Name,” the ever-popular Girl’s Generation’s “I Got a Boy,” and then an explosive co-ed dance to Dynamic Duo’s “Three Dopeboyz.” Act leaders Grace Huang and Mark Borreliz ’14 clearly trained and taught their dances well because all of them were in sync, entertaining and looked like K-Pop stars.

If all of the events so far don’t pique any of your interests, the Three Drum Dance would’ve blown away any dissatisfaction. Chanhee Park, the founder of the Boston Korean Dance Group, and Hanah Yoo ’14, stunned the crowd with their impressive coordination and rhythmic moves. It was a performance made from years of practice and a spectacle the guests were lucky to experience.

With our hearts still pounding, K-Nite took us back to contemporary Korean culture with their impressive Rock Band. Abraham Woo ’17 kicked it off, with a rock cover of “Run Devil Run,” which had the crowd cheering. The night ended with a heartwarming duet and if you regret missing them, make sure to look for the Rock Band at Culture X.

If I could, I’d give K-Nite Café a five-star review on Yelp for a great ambiance, uniquely Korean performances, delicious Korean food catered from Bonchon and Bibum and an enjoyable experience overall. Polished, thematic and entertaining, BKSA knows how to put on a show that showcases both contemporary and traditional Korean performances. Like all cultural events here, K-Nite was open to the public and was a night dedicated to sharing, and celebrating, Korean culture.

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