Hello, this is Choenan social reporter, Lona.
The Cheonan street parade was full of music, dance and most importantly it was filled with culture. The Cheonan street festival is part of the annual Cheonan dance festival which takes place in the city of Cheonan. This is a large effort carried out by the city council to expose residence and dancers from all over the world to different style and ways of dancing. In total there are 16 countries that participate in the street festival but over 30 different teams domestically and internationally combined that join in the cultural exchange. I am going to probably blow your mind away and introduce you to a few of the forms of dance from the different countries through words, picture and video as well.
From Friday morning Cheonan had been experiencing cloudy weather and mild rain throughout the day. The rain had been a concern for me as to whether or not it would proceed and if it did how the dancers would perform in the wet condition. The street parade was scheduled to start from 19:00-22:00. Knowing that in general Korean programs are punctual had me wondering how timely the program will begin. On arrival at the location via bus I took a brisk 7 minute walk due to the main street where the bus stops being shut down for the parade. I began to make my way over surrounded by crowds of students, parents and couple also on route to see the performances that were prepared for the evening. In the distance I could hear the vibrations of music, the clapping of the crowd. I was curious how this was possible with the rain pouring down at that moment? Where was the crowd seated? Where were the dancers dancing? Under what conditions one could be expected to be enjoying themselves in the rain? How is tteobokki made? I had so many questions that needed answering. On arrival I strategically made my way behind the barrier line to the front of the stage where I could take good picture. I slipped on my raincoat, strapped my “press” land yarn around my neck and whipped out my camera to make it official.
Looking up to the scene that surrounded me I could see laughing and happy faces. The crowd was seated along the side of the road all wearing blue raincoats provided by the City. In the center of the road in front of the stage were dancers in their different cultural attire. They were performing their hearts out! They were performing as though there was not any rain in the first place. It had me wondering if they noticed that it was raining in the first place. Lastly there were two presenters up on stage introducing the dancers as dancers approached the stage and took their moment to dance.
Having to deal with multiple people who were just as eager to document the evening I shuffled my way to the front where I was met with what was going to be a fun experience at the street festival.
To start off with the teams that performed, there were 34 teams in total that performed both nationally and internationally. This included internationally teams which had come from countries such as: Mexico, Botswana, Russia, China, Brazil, Thailand, Poland and South Africa. Being South African I was especially proud to have seen South Africa participating in the dance festival. South Africa had the Ama-Zebra Youth Organization representing them. Ama-Zebra Youth Organization which was established in 1994 had previously won the South African competition South Africa has Talent show.
One of the teams which really stood out for me was the Malaysian dance team. They had a dance style which really appealed to the crowd because of how much fun the dancers seem to be having. The dance was an ensemble of singing, playing of instruments and choreography which was very well planned. I enjoyed watching how the women would cheer on the men as though it were the first time seeing them dance. I also enjoyed the manner in which the men would dance for the women to show off their dance moves to impress them.
Later that evening after all the dance teams had shown their routines and bravely so in the rain there was a performing dj and an artist which had all the teams dancing together. The dance teams internationally and nationally had all come together to dance to modern kpop and hip hop to the joy of the crowd while the judges tallied up the points. The dancing was so much fun that the mayor of Cheonan also joined in and danced with the representing teams. Not only was he excited to be there but the teams were also very happy to be with him during this special time. In the end the event ended with and awards ceremony presenting different prizes which in total were ₩ 30 000 000.
I am very proud to say the final winners for the evening were the South African Dancers Ama-Zebra Youth Organization.
This was a great event which was well prepared and well organized by the City of Cheonan. I hope that this festival will continue for many years to come and will expose Koreans and the world to different cultures.