K-Move, the University of Minnesota’s Korean pop cover dance group, garnered cheers and applause from a vast audience at the Pan Asian Arts Festival on Saturday afternoon at the Mall of America.
K-Move’s appearance at the festival, which is a celebration of Pan Asian Heritage Month, is a milestone for the group. It was the first time the group performed at the festival and in front of a crowd that large.
The student performance group specializes in K-pop cover dancing, a form of dance that recreates the high-energy choreography paired with Korean pop music. It is influenced by break dancing, street style dancing and modern dance. The group was founded to provide a place for students to gather around a shared interest in Korean dance and culture.
Saturday’s festival was the largest event the group has appeared at, as it mainly performs at University events and has made appearances at nearby schools like Augsburg University and St. Catherine University.
“It’s just a big next step,” said Wei Kian (Ken) Lim, a member of the dance troop.
Lim has been a member of K-Move since it began in early 2016. He graduated last year, but remains involved with the organization and performed with K-Move on Saturday.
Lim said the group's appearance at MOA will help solidify its status as a performing group and also help K-Move gain recognition. He said he hopes the performance will illustrate that the group is there for all students who are interested in K-pop culture.
Angel Hernandez, a student in the College of Liberal Arts and a senior member of the group, said the group practices weeks and sometimes up to months in advance of a performance. They perform up to seven times per year. The group currently has 20 to 30 members, 11 of which performed at MOA Saturday.
The group is open to people with all levels of dance experience and backgrounds, as well as to those who are not University students. Several members of the group are graduates of the University or graduated from other nearby colleges.
In addition to performing for events, the group maintains social media pages to spread awareness and appreciation for the genre and hosts dance workshops.
According to Shannon Thao, a junior at the University who has been dancing the K-pop style since middle school, the style of dance has heavy Western influences. Other defining elements of K-pop include colorful and coordinated outfits that range from traditional Korean dress to urban street-style clothes.
“I don’t think I ever would have found dance, or my love for it, if it wasn’t for K-pop,” Thao said. “I’m really thankful for K-pop for having showed me this really wonderful world of dance and culture."