At 12 p.m. on Saturday, the dance groups from Kenyon What’s K-Poppin ‘and Ballroom Dance Club joined forces to host a winter dance showcase in the Horn Gallery.
Performances ranged from solos and duets to group routines, including a variety of songs, costumes and props. The members of What’s K-Poppin ‘flaunted bold eye makeup and colorful K-pop-inspired outfits, and the Ballroom Dance Club’s ensemble outfit ranged from cowboy hats and plaid shirts to masks. facial expressions with bloody smiles.
K-pop highlights included an impressive solo on NCT 127’s “Simon Says” by What’s K-Poppin ‘President Andy Kelleher ’22 and an energetic and technically impressive group performance on “Love Shot” by EXO. Additionally, Ballroom’s group performance on Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova” and a duet on Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” danced by Ballroom Dance Club President Sutton Amthor ’22 and Guest Assistant Professor of Alex Novikoff’s story were both charming and lively routines. .
While ballroom dancing and K-pop aren’t generally associated genres, the two groups have been collaborating since 2019, when Ballroom invited What’s K-Poppin ‘to perform at Dancing with the Kenyon Stars – a dance competition where Ballroom members perform with Faculty of Kenya.
As in-person performances returned this year, both groups found themselves with low membership numbers. “Due to the COVID pandemic, none of our clubs have had strong recruiting for more than a year,” Amthor said. “We still wanted the opportunity to play, both for our own good and for new members to have the opportunity to engage with the club outside of our regular evening classes.”
Either way, the pairing of the two clubs resulted in an intriguing array of routines, with K-pop dances followed by swing and jive.
As What’s K-Poppin ‘Nika Cooper ’24 vice president noted, audiences fed off the groups’ positive energies and responded well to the mix of styles. “Overall I really felt like each performance was fresh and different from the last which I think kept our audience engaged,” she said.
Despite their differences in style, it was clear that the two groups shared a similar philosophy regarding dance: the goal was to provide a welcoming environment and to favor learning over competition and performance. “I think the way our clubs approach dance is very complementary,” said Amthor. “Above all else, our goal is to have fun dancing and to share that joy with other people.”
After the event, Cooper and Amthor expressed their satisfaction with the performance of their group. “Personally, I couldn’t be happier,” Cooper noted. “We filled all of our seats and got enthusiastic responses from the audience. ”
Amthor agreed the show was a success, especially thanking the show’s emcee, Joshua Earle ’24. “Our master of ceremonies did a great job of announcing and none of my hollows ended in a fall to the ground, which I consider a huge success,” she said.