By Haeleigh Lange
As the International Festival filled Tarrant Recreation Center with the smells from the kitchens of different countries, people looked up curiously at flags from around the world as they walked by. Drummers danced around, pounding on their instruments and singing along as the music beat throughout the room.
As the nine women in the K-pop group moved together, laughing with one another, and dancing in sync with the music, clapping and shouting from students could be heard throughout the room. Dressed in baggy cargo pants, crop tops, and sneakers, they slid and wove between each other, quickly going in and out of formations, as they glided and jumped with the high energy music.
Korean pop, “K-pop”, has exploded throughout the world in recent years, making its way to America and onto St. Michael’s campus. Due to K-pop becoming popular, students from abroad and American students use it as a way to connect with one another. “I’m from Japan and K-pop is a thing in Japan and people listen to K-pop regularly,” said Momoka Okamura, Vice President of Diversity Coalition. “I am really shy and get frightened on the stage and I wanted to do something really challenging for myself.”
According to The New Yorker, the Korean pop genre of music started getting popularized in America around six years ago when the song “Gangnam Style” hit the billboard charts.
“We started practicing two months beforehand, twice or three times a week,” Okamura said. “We are comfortable talking with each other and if there is something that needs to be fixed, we can talk with each other and help each other.”
“It used to be just my favorite songs and my interest but now I could connect with many people. K-pop is a kind of communication tool for me,” Haruka Miyajima, an international student from Japan said.
This year, being able to practice more and being as close as they are made the performances that much better, said Carolina “Lia” Christ ‘21, “I feel like last year was kind of a mess, we didn’t really know what we were doing and this year we kind of learned from the mistakes we made.”