Last night the beautiful city of Gyeongju in Southeastern Korea saw the 2013 Kpop Cover Dance Festival where dance teams from all around the world came together to compete for a once in a life time opportunity of winning a chance to dance on the Hallyu Dream Concert stage. After numerous online votes and regional competitions, 15 dance teams from South Korea, UK, Canada, USA, Thailand, Japan, Russia and the Philippines flew to South Korea to perform on a glitzy set in front of a live audience and many TV cameras.
The aim of this festival is to show the world how far the Hallyu Wave has spread internationally and to bring people with a passion for Kpop to South Korea. The finalists all got free trips to South Korea where they were chauffeured around and briefly experienced the life of a Kpop idol with packed schedules, rehearsals and commuting around the country in tour buses. After traveling around together for a few days, all the competing dance teams have become good friends and as the night of the competition neared, everyone was nervous, excited and energetic. As the Kpop Cover Dance Festival began, we were welcomed to the city of Gyeongju, often referred to as the museum without walls. Gyeongju was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla and has maintained many of its historical landmarks which are dotted all around the city.
The Top 3 teams get the chance to perform on a very special stage at the Hallyu Dream Concert, where many of South Korea’s top artists have come to perform such as VIXX, DBSK, 4Minute, Sistar, Kara and many many more! Judging this competition were choreographers and boybands, Boys Republic and M.I.K. On the night everyone’s costumes were amazing, all the teams took great effort in coming up with their images especially the teams who took on personas of group members. As we watched some of the covers it was almost like watching the acts themselves!
UK’s very own Team LoKo opened the show with a VIXX remix ending with the very epic and powerful Hyde. From the very beginning, many of the audience instantly recognised VIXX’s iconic dance and there were even fan chants! With this remix, the LoKos showed off their playfulness as well as their strong and emotional side. LoKo member Akili, who took on the part of rapper Ravi, quickly gained fans with her energy as she perfectly embodied the rapper’s unique charm and style. It was an amazing performance and gave the largely South Korean audience a taste of the standard and professionalism they would be seeing that night.
The next two performers were two very brave solo dancers. Kalvin from USA and Wawa from Canada took to the stage alone, with Kalvin performing the very popular Lucifer from SHINee and Wawa giving us a very smiley and energetic rendition of CL’s Baddest Female. The 4th team to perform was a very popular choice, they already caused quite a commotion in the lobby with their outfits and walked onto the stage with cheers from the M.I.K judges. Afrogirls from Japan were donned in helmets and were of course performing the current hit Crayon Pop’s Jumping! Their costumes were exactly like those of the actual artist and they performed with cute expressions all around, they were certainly the favourite of the audience.
Next up for a bit of a change of style was Esta and Kayan from Hong Kong! As boy/girl duo, their performance was sexy as they danced to a medley of Big Bang songs. Their chemistry was so electric that the presenters asked if they were really a couple! (The answer is no by the way!) And to keep the YG theme going was 2NEStar from Indonesia who qualified via a special online selection round. 2NEStar had the perfect little Park Bom, CL, Minzy and Dara, and their costumes were on point as they all performed with the same charm of the actual 2NE1. Next up was DAS project from Russia who was actually part of the competition last year. This year they covered F(x)’s top hit Nu ABO and made great effort in replicating the ever quirky styled F(x) even the very unique hairstyles!
To finish the first part of the festival was Hong Kong’s second entry, Hong Kong Pop. This was a very special team of 5 members who treated us to a medley of songs which reflect Hong Kong’s Kpop scene, even including a very special hairspray rendition of the ever popular Nobody by Wondergirls. The stage started with the 4 male members on stage, their performance was professional and powerful. As BoA’s Only One came on the speakers, Hong Kong Pop brought in their very own little 4 year old BoA! She was amazing and impressively pulled off all the dances, even Big Bang’s energetic Fantastic Baby. The chemistry in the team was incredible as Hong Kong pop displayed their strong dance skills as well as their more adorable side as they all dotted after their mini BoA who had the crowd all infatuated.
During the Festival we were also treated to performances from newly debuted boy groups M.I.K and Boys Republic, who each displayed a very different side to the Kpop world. M.I.K were very old skool with their style, in their casual suits and playful dances they reminded us of the earlier boy group generation such as Shinhwa and H.O.T. Boys Republic showed off a more modern style to Kpop with the slick trendy fashions and immaculately executed dance routine.
The ninth team to come on stage were Firstone, a team from South Korea. Their beginning 2NE1 outfits were fantastic and their dance to 2NE1’s Fire and I’m the Best was filled with energy and smiles before breaking off into a very serious and sleek dance break from B.A.P’s debut single Warrior. Following Firstone was Japan’s very uniquely named Medical Haken Shine. This team consisted of a female Changmin and Yunho along with their team of very acrobatic ninjas. Their performance was strong and enigmatic as the two leads took on the role of one of the biggest duos in current Kpop. The next dance team were greeted with screams as they are actually quite popular in their home country of Philippines, often performing on national TV. The SHINers were of course a SHINee cover team, and their members’ outfits were so on point we had to do a double take at Minho as they were so alike! Each member portrayed their member with the exact same charisma and charm of the original SHINee which had the crowd applauding and even a few fangirl screams.
The 2nd team from Russia was Inspirit who won the Russian regional round of the competition. Here they showed off a very sexy and racy side with cheerleader acrobats as they danced to 2NE1’s I’m the best and CL’s Baddest Female, the popular songs of the night. Next up was Canadian team SOF Crew, a duo dance team who danced to Teen Top, Hyunah’s change and BoA’s only one, showing they can take on any style of Kpop from boy group to sexy female solo to duet! SOF crew was then followed by the second South Korea team of mini Girls Generation. Their outfits were probably one of the most impressive, in fact we were a bit jealous at just how fabulously dressed these girls were! They danced perfectly to SNSD’s top hits such as In to the World, The Boys as well as ending with a very adorable Oh!
The final team to take stage was probably one of the most anticipated teams of the evening, Millennium Boys (MB). MB are a EXO cover group, with each member embodying a specific EXO member and with the current popularity of EXO, this team from Thailand were greeted with screams from fangirls. We spotted MB fan signs in the audience and we also heard that they even have their very own fan cafe! As EXO fans ourselves, we were seriously impressed at the likeness they were to the real EXO; each dancer has put great effort into making sure they have EXO’s mannerisms, from Kris’ swagger and Kai’s cheekiness to Sehun’s adorable serious dance face as well as a seriously impressive flying kick from their blue haired Tao! They performed to EXO’s latest hits Wolf and Growl as well as working in the dance break from their debut single MAMA. It was a brilliant end to the evening.
As the judges took to the stage to reveal the winners who will be taking part in the Hallyu Dream concert, everyone was thanked for their interested and passion for Kpop dance and with the current popularity of a certain group, it came at no surprise to hear who got 1st place!
1st Place: Millennium Boys (Thailand)
2nd Place: Afrogirls (Japan)
3rd Place: Firstone (South Korea)
Congratulations to the winners and a massive well done to all the participating teams as everyone was absolutely awesome! From the costumes, the choreography, the remixes to the professionalism, it was a fantastically fun night had by all! Make sure you stay tuned to our Facebook for upcoming photos!