Break dancing, the aggressive and athletic form of street dancing started in Brooklyn in the 1970's, has increased in popularity in recent years with young and hip dancers everywhere. Breakdancers usually refer to themselves as “B-boys” and "B-girls". This international craze hasn't missed Korea and Jeju recently hosted a performance by the Korean B-boy superstars, Last For One.
In a unique arrangement, Last For One performed accompanied by the Sukmyeong Gayageum Orchestra, at Jeju National University Teacher's College Theater on April 16. The free concert began with the orchestra, six beautiful Korean women in elegant black and white dresses, playing gayageums, a Korean stringed instrument that lays flat and has a similar sound quality to a cello. They played a mix of famous Western songs, classical music, and Korean folk songs.
Then Last For One took the stage with a duet style battle, with two dancers trying to out show the other while the gayageum choir played Pachabel’s Canon in D. The whole crew appeared, 10 in all, in baseball hats, baggy shorts, and tee shirts displaying their ample prowess as world class break dancers.
Last For One started in1997 in Seoul and has become one of the top B-boy acts in the world. In 2005, they achieved international recognition after winning the Battle of the Year in Braunschwieg, Germany, considered to be the world championships of break dancing. Their inventive routines combine break dancing, popping, locking, and hip hop. They tour internationally and have performed for high profile events such as the Korean 17th Presidential Inauguration in 2008 and recently at the welcoming ceremony for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Seoul.
Their Jeju performance included excerpts from the 2007 film “Planet B-boy,” in which they were featured. After each short clip defining a break dance term (popping, locking, etc.) a member of the crew demonstrated the dance style with a short solo. The popping solo by Lee Woojin (nickname ‘Poppin Woogu’) and the locking solo by Seo Juhyun (nickname ‘Taiyo’) brought deafening cheers from the crowd.
Leo Hwang, the manager of Last For One, said via email, "(The trip to Jeju) was very hard because we had to do two performances in just one day. However we really (had) fun. Jeju University students cheered Last For One so we could do our best performance." When asked about future plans, Mr. Hwang wrote, "If any group invites (us), we will come".
The international stardom of these Korean B-boys has inspired others to break dance right here in Jeju. The KKUN Dance Academy was started in February in Shin Jeju. A group of 16- to 25-year-olds has formed the Ideal Dance Crew, Jeju's only professional street dance team. Co-managed by Kim Cheol and Yang Eun Cheol, the crew is a combination of seasoned dancers and newer trainees.
Kim Cheol said, "Recently, Last For One won the international competition which has made B-boys more popular in Korea. I think (break dancing) will get more popular. There is a lot of break dancing on the mainland, but not much in Jeju. I think we are the only professional crew here."
The Ideal Crew has a performance May 2 at the Moon Ye Hweh Guam (Concert Hall) near the police station in Shijeong. For more information about lessons or performances call 064-749-1110.
To learn how to street dance yourself, there are many schools in Jeju. In Shin Jeju, the KKUN Dance Academy offers lessons by appointment to adults and children in popping, locking, and break dancing, as well as other dance forms.
Call 064-749-1110 for more information. Go Eun Hee's Dance Academy across from Hi-Mart also offers regularly scheduled classes in many forms of dance including popping, hip hop, and music video dance. Call 064-711-0073 or visit their studio for a schedule.
Near Mr. Pizza, the Joy Jazz Dance Academy (064-711-9664) offers club dance and music video dance classes. And in Inje, the Jung Eun Seon Hip Hop School offers several different classes and can be reached at 064-702-9929.
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