Come September 2013, two groups of young Nigerian dancers, the Dark Gravity and Idez Entertainment, will be in South Korea to represent Nigeria in the 2013 edition of the K-POP Dance Festival, a Republic of Korean popular music festival that celebrates the current craze for the Korean culture around the world.
At the battle for the sole ticket to represent Nigeria/Africa at the K-Pop Festival in Gangwon, which took place at the Ladi Kwali Hall of Sheraton Hotels & Towers, Abuja, on Friday, July 26, 2013, 10 adult teams and 5 Secondary School dance groups participated with Dark Gravity emerging overall winner in the Secondary School category, while Idez Entertainment emerged winner in the professional crew category.
In a welcome address, the Director of the Korean Cultural Centre, Nigeria, Kwon Young-Ik, disclosed that around the world, schools and professional groups compete in a national championship to select their representatives that will compete in the final round of competition with the opportunity to also meet other K-Pop stars, who will also be converging in South Korea.
According to him, this is the second time the competition is holding in Nigeria; “the first edition was won by The Elevators, a group of young Nigerian dancers who went all the way to Korea as Nigeria and Africa’s representative where they clinched the 3rd prize behind Indonesia and Thailand respectively,” he said.
The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who was at the event, described the forum as “unprecedented,” stressing that dance has been used as a medium of cultural diplomacy to transport Nigerians to the Republic of Korea, which, he said, is a worthy example to other embassies and high commissions here in Nigeria.
His words: “I was really excited when “The Elevators” that represented us last year in South Korea were singing in the Korean language. That is to say they have gone there; they have seen South Korea; they have experienced the life there and they have learnt one or two things; and I believe the next representatives from Nigeria will do same.”
Further commending the K-Pop dance initiative, Ayakoroma said, “I think it is a very good initiative in the sense that our children are having a contact with the republic of Korea and it has gone a long way. This is the second edition but we are really impressed because the children would have taken quite some time to rehearse the numbers they danced to and I want to encourage the Korean Cultural Centre and Arojah Royal Theatre to keep this up, because we are talking about job creation, we are talking about culture contact, we are talking about the dynamism of culture, and this is one way to do that.”
“These are avenues through which we can export our own culture and, of course, if these children are performing in South Korea, they are selling Nigeria out there. Despite the fact that they are dealing with Korean Pop culture, they are selling Nigeria as Nigerian representatives and I believe as the programme progresses, a time will come when they will also be focusing on Nigerian Pop culture,” he said.
Also commending the Korean Government, for initiating such aspects of bilateral relationship, the Minister of Youth Development, Alhaji Inuwa Abdul-Kadir, maintained that the Nigerian government was willing to embrace such relationships with nations, geared towards the exchange of programmes.
Represented by a Director in the ministry, Mr. B. M. Zuaka, the Minister said, “the government puts youth issues on the front burner of their activities and the Ministry of Youth is, of course, charged with the responsibility of seeing how the Nigerian youth could be effectively used for the socio-economic development of the country. The ministry already has youth exchange programmes with various countries in Africa, Japan, Canada and China and by this, we wish to establish also, a relationship with Korean government, which will lead to exchange of programmes.”
He further noted that it was not only in the K-pop cultural display and dance that Nigerian youths have excelled but stressed that Nigerian youths have been contributing to the global entertainment world.
The fifteen teams that participated in the competition were City Royal Secondary School, Nyanya, Dark Gravity, Glisten International Academy, Abuja, Square Root, and Government Secondary School, Garki (The Game), in the Secondary School category; while Dance Alliance, Da Supreme, Da Undisputed, Dynamic Sisters, Fly High Crew, Idez Entertainment, Magic Steppers, Xtreme Dance 4ce (XD4), and Young Dancing Machines were in the Professional Crew category; just as the 3rd place winners at the 2012 edition in Korea, The Elevators, did a special performance.
Dignitaries present include the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, represented by the Director of Culture, Mr. George Ufot, the Executive Director, National Council for Arts & Culture (NCAC), Mr. M. M. Maidugu, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Performing Arts Department, Mallam Denja Abdullahi, and the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nigeria, H.E. Choi Jong-hyun and his wife.