Beyond just dancing

December 28, 2015
By Christine Kim  El Camino Real Charter High School  10th grade

By Christine Kim
El Camino Real Charter High
10th grade

“Did your family come from South Korea or North Korea?”

This is the most common question I get from saying that I am Korean.

“If my family lived in North Korea, I don’t think we would even be here,” is my usual answer.   

It probably happens because people do not know much about Korea. Even though Korea is a country much smaller in size than California, it is a country with 5,000 years of rich history.

As a proud Korean, I wanted to learn Korean traditional dancing as one of my extra curricular activities. Not only was learning the dance moves fun and interesting, but also it gave me the opportunity to do community services, to share my talent with others.

I am a member of Yoo’s Korean Culture Club. Most of the team members are high school students. My team gathers every Sunday at our teacher, Hiza Yoo’s dance studio. We have learned various traditional dances such as, fan dance, Samgomoo, Jangoo dance, and sword dance.

Using these dances, we have performed at many different places. Recently, my team was part of the Christmas parade at Honolulu St. in La Cañada. It was an amazing experience, being a part of such a massive event.

One of the most memorable performance was the competition that we prepared for together. For that specific performance, we learned the choreography of a dance that was made by my teacher in hopes for the unification of Korea.

Additional to the dance, we made a video of ourselves talking about why Korea should be united. I talked about my grandmother who was born in North Korea. She escaped North Korea when she was only 4 years old. Though her family safely escaped, she had to leave some of her relatives behind. She is just one of the many cases. A lot of people cannot see their families because Korea is divided. It was an enriching experience for me because it made me think more about how important the unification of Korea is.

I believe that learning Korean traditional dance needs dedication and effort. However, it is something I would recommend to anyone because it is enjoyable and just by doing it, it becomes the action of giving back to the community.





  1. Hanlyu Sarang

    December 29, 2015 at 9:39 AM

    America is a bit over 200 years old. I think it is difficult for Americans to understand a culture that is over 1000 years old. I have been looking for free video courses of East Asian History, but much of what I find seems to be from a western perspective. I wonder if universities in South Korea, Japan China, Vietnam, et. al., would be willing to join the open course-ware initiative (Yale, Harvard, MIT, …) and contribute lecture series about their national and regional history/culture, told from their own perspective. If these courses could be captioned in English Language, that would greatly help people in western cultue to better understand.

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