South Korea 2016

We were invited to South Korea to participate in the Cheonan International Dance Festival. This is the anchor festival of the coordinating body FIDAF, which organises dance festivals in numerous international locations.

The festival saw hundred of dancers from across the world coming together to showcase the traditional dance form of their country. Participants hailed from Europe, North and South America and Asia, making it a truly global event. The 10 day festival also drew many participants from Korea itself, performing everything from their own cultural dance to hip hop dancing and even cheerleading.

On arrival we attended a work shop to learn 3 dances which would be performed at various stages during the festival. Two of these were traditional Korean dances, one of which involved scarves. The other was a hip hop routine made popular by a famous Korean girl band who would be performing at the festival in several days time. This was an interesting introduction to the Korean culture and allowed us to meet the other groups that we would be performing with.

The following morning we attended a welcoming reception in the Cheonan Arts Center where the Mayor greeted all the international participants and we performed a short preview of our dance form for one another. Thereafter we travelled to a theatre in Bucheon where we performed along with 6 other acts to an enthusiastic audience of local people.

Presentation from the Mayor of Cheonan City

The next day marked the opening ceremony of the festival. This was a spectacular event held in a vast area of parkland. 20 000 people including many dignitaries filled the grounds to welcome all the international acts onto the main stage. The ceremony also included special guest performances and fireworks, and culminated in the entire international cast performing one of the traditional dances on stage. It was a fabulous start to the festival.

Technical Rehearsals at the Main Stage

Over the course of the next few days we performed on many of the festivals 4 stages and attended other events and activities including the annual general conference of the FIDAF members.

Performance at Stage 2

We attended a late night street parade through the city centre of Cheonan. Here every one of the 50 acts paraded and performed to streets lined with spectators. After the parade was over all the participants and the onlookers joined together for a street party in the middle of the city complete with a DJ, confetti canons and more fireworks. This experience was out of this world and was made even better by us winning a spot prize on the night as one of the top acts.

The next few days saw more performances including participation in the 'funny dance battle' competition where our own Courtney McAlister picked up a top prize with her spontaneous moves.

The closing ceremony was every bit as impressive as the opening ceremony had been with a real atmosphere of celebration from everyone who took part.

Our final day was spent in the countries capital Seoul where we enjoyed some free time in the city centre and a visit to some local tourist attractions.

Our first trip to Asia certainly proved to be a success. Congratulations to everyone involved with the festival!