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A Dance that Taught Me More Than Pretty Steps

By November 1, 2010No Comments

By Hye Joo
New Organizing Project blogger

Last Saturday, October 23, KRCC had a fundraiser celebrating its 15th anniversary. To congratulate them on this memorable day, our young women’s empowerment program, Building Sisterhood (BSH), decided to participate by performing a Korean traditional dance, Hwagwanmu, which is an abstract and graceful Korean traditional dance representing the beauty of the flower and nature.

For 5 weeks leading up to the fundraiser, BSH members gathered every other Mondays and every Sundays for 4 hours to practice. Just like all other Korean traditional dances, Hwagwanmu requires maximum amount of energy and focus. Every single muscle in your body is to be used, and a mistake in a single movement can affect the flow of the whole choreography. Our instructor, JuYoung Oh, always reminded us that when we are performing Hwagwanmu, our movement has to represent those of the flower so we cannot show any kind of stiff and restrained moves.

I remember, during every practice, all the members fell to the floor exhausted. We had intense practice hours and the countless number of quick jumps, rotations, ducks and crouches incorporated in the choreography tested our will and determination.

But even though we had hard practices, all the members enjoyed the time we spent together learning how to perform Hwagwanmu. Practice was practice, but it was also a time for us to chat and have fun. Most importantly, however, we were given another opportunity to learn and  spread our Korean heritage.


Photo caption: Performers (in hanbok, Korean traditional dress) from left to right are, Dena Lee, Hyunji Kim, Jiyun Kim, Hyejoo Kim, Yunjeong Ji

I came to the United States when I was only 7 years old, and I did not have a lot of opportunities to fully learn about the Korean culture. But even after I came here, my parents taught me important Korean traditions, values and morals. I even continue to study the Korean language. I am proud because even though I came to America when I was young, I can still read, write, speak and understand Korean fluently.

Participating in these activities through KRCC is another thing that I have added to my “achievement” list. Without knowing about KRCC’s youth programs, I would not have had the chance to meet other young Korean Americans who share the same experiences as me. I hope that more students can get similar opportunities, embrace their roots and share with others.

I didn’t get a chance to get a video of our dance, but take a listen to the song we danced to.


Hope you enjoy! Thanks! Have a great week and see you next Monday!