On Saturday, the annual Korean Student Association’s Expo was held at Burley Middle School in Charlottesville. The Expo was filled with “traditional and modern performances” and, of course, free Korean dinner courtesy of KSA. According to the president of the club, “KSA is an organization that spreads and shares the Korean culture to the University community. It aims to reach out to Koreans of all backgrounds and non-Korean students as well. KSA also has a big role in creating a support group for the Korean students here.” They hold numerous cultural events throughout the year where students can enjoy performances portraying modern and traditional cultures in Korea. However, Expo is by far their biggest event of the year, and the most anticipated.
The doors opened at 6PM. The show consisted of a variety of performances, all representing the Korean culture. The curtains opened to a mix of Western and the Eastern culture, featuring one of the all-time biggest Korean pop hits, “Ae In It Seo Yo” (I Have a Lover), played on the saxophone and piano. The first traditional performance was a song played using a Korean string instrument, a gayageum. The gayageum is often referred to as the “Asian harp”. More traditional performances continued, with the fan dance and a gumdo demonstration (a Korean martial art that uses swords). Other performances portrayed current pop culture trends in South Korea, which are widely popular all across Asia. Modern dances included songs from popular singers, such as, Girls Generation, Seven, Rainbow, Four Minutes, etc. The dance performances were amazing, just as good as any dance organizations at the University.
The culture show was amazing, but the free Korean meal kicked the event up a notch. During intermission audiences were led to the school’s cafeteria, where KSA organized a professionally catered Korean dinner, consisting of many well-known traditional dishes such as, bulgogi (marinated beef) and kimchi (traditional pickled cabbage). It may sound a bit different that what you are used to, but it was delicious.
A Korean cultural experience like KSA’s Expo is frankly very rare in Charlottesville. Expo is the biggest annual KSA event of the year. “It takes us the whole year to prepare for EXPO. It’s a big and expensive production. This year the venue cost us about $1300 and the food we serve for free cost $1200”, said Oh. So, if you missed it this time around, look out for it next year. KSA put together a great event that really harnessed Korean culture and brought it right here to Charlottesville.