10/3/2022

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun–Especially Korean Street Dancers

In Korea, K-pop dominates the dance industry. But shows like Street Girls Fighter are legitimizing dance–giving performers a platform to be seen as more than just back dancers. They say dance helps them be present–something that is still hard to do in Korea. Street Woman Fighter and its spin-off Street Girls Fighter are dance competitions that began highlighting more than K-Pop. They featured street dancing, which for many adults in Korea, is a pointless path. Even for the teens who are successful dancers, finding the answers to the questions from adults – “What are you going to do with this?” – feels like a very real pressure at a very young age. Despite the societal pressures, physical tolls, and injuries that come with this career, dancers like twenty-year-old Hong Hayeon say they hope to dance for the rest of their lives. Working together with other dancers as a unit is an art form, and being able to draw from your own personality to pair it with the dynamics of others is a skill of its own.

10/3/2022

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun–Especially Korean Street Dancers

In Korea, K-pop dominates the dance industry. But shows like Street Girls Fighter are legitimizing dance–giving performers a platform to be seen as more than just back dancers. They say dance helps them be present–something that is still hard to do in Korea. Street Woman Fighter and its spin-off Street Girls Fighter are dance competitions that began highlighting more than K-Pop. They featured street dancing, which for many adults in Korea, is a pointless path. Even for the teens who are successful dancers, finding the answers to the questions from adults – “What are you going to do with this?” – feels like a very real pressure at a very young age. Despite the societal pressures, physical tolls, and injuries that come with this career, dancers like twenty-year-old Hong Hayeon say they hope to dance for the rest of their lives. Working together with other dancers as a unit is an art form, and being able to draw from your own personality to pair it with the dynamics of others is a skill of its own.

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Thai Group, The Barbarian, Inspired by Chicano Culture

Leng the Barbarian is not a gangster, he’s a big brother in a family–one where male members endure 13 seconds of violence to belong, and female members (depending on if they’re “sweet” or “strong”) must dance or drink alcohol. This initiation, Leng explains, is a challenge meant to attract like-minded people: strong, determined, perseverant. This family has house rules, including not doing cocaine and amphetamines, or anything that can “ruin their lives”. They take care of one another like a family does, sharing everything from money and food to jobs and opportunities. In 2017, Leng founded The Barbarian, a group that was aimed to be independent, creative, and loud. As a child growing up in the slums, he had experienced watching fatal overdoses on his way to school, and grew up to become a thief buying drugs. Deeply inspired by Chicano gang culture and style, and listening to Mexican rappers like Lil Rob and Mr Yosie, Leng was drawn to how gentle the culture was from how they dance to iron their clothes. Chicano, a chosen identity for Mexicans who immigrated to Los Angeles, was once a term of derision and then adopted as an expression of defiance towards white assimilation. Not only did Leng integrate Chicano gang style into The Barbarian aesthetic, he built an imported clothing business focused on Chicano streetwear. He wants people to raise children with an open mind, and learn about Chicano culture by wearing it. Leng believes it’s their recognizable style that has made The Barbarians a target for police today.

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Girls Just Wanna Have Fun–Especially Korean Street Dancers