B-Boys leave the subway behind

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B-Boys leave the subway behind

“Whenever you turn on the TV you see another b-boy dancing in commercials,” said Nam Hyun-joon, a celebrated b-boy dancer who has just arranged the choreography for an upcoming musical, “B-Boy Korea.” Known as Poppin’ Hyun-jun, Nam was talking to reporters on Tuesday as PMC Productions, the company known for Nanta performances, announced that their next production will be a b-boy spectacle.
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“It wasn’t like that before,” Nam continued. “It’s just great that things changed so much. When I started several years ago, people stared at me with accusing looks, as if we were doing something bad.”
“Now we are on television and there’s even a clothing trend called b-boy fashion,” he said.
Poppin gave polite answers to reporters who asked for definitions of “popping” and “locking,” some of the terms in break dance jargon that Korean b-boys adapted from English words. But there was a hint of boredom in his voice, as if he was giving an explanation that has become tired by overuse.
It took a long time for the b-boy culture to climb out of the “underworld,” as the b-boy dancers put it. The subway platform and the forecourts of department stores were the places where they usually performed. But soon, after news spread that Korean b-boy teams were winning world competitions, the spotlight fell upon them.
As if to prove this, a series of b-boy spectacles have recently opened in Korea such as “The Ballerina Who Loved a B-boy” from a theatrical company led by Lee Geun-hui.
The musical giant PMC Production is now jumping on the bandwagon. With Poppin’ Hyun-joon as the choreographer and Kim Byung-ho, the director of Doggaebi Storm as the director, it is staging a musical that they say is a mixture of “mesmerizing headspins and leg twists” mixing Western percussion with Korean traditional flute music.”
“We are going to show that b-boying is possible with Korea’s traditional music as well.” said Song Seung-hwan, the head of PMC Production.
“B-Boy Korea,” is a story of two competing dance groups. It uses the sounds of gayageum, haegeum, Korean drums and Buddhist wood blocks to make up a large portion of the music, Mr. Song said. He said he hopes to take the show to China, Japan and other Southeast Asian countries, where Korean pop culture has been warmly received.
Meanwhile, riding on the boom, Lee Geun-hui Stage, another theater production company, said they also began staging a new b-boy musical this week.
Entitled “Good Morning B-boy,” it features Lee Sang-hun,who was a choreographer for rapper Foxy and Song Yong-jin. The latter was the champion of the 2005 Lotte Performance Jam.

“B-boy Korea” starts Nov. 25 at PMC’s B-boy Korea Theater located inside the Star Six theater building near Seodamun station on subway line no. 5. “Good Morning B-boy” started yesterday and will continue until tomorrow at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets for both can be purchased at http://ticket.interpark.com


by Lee Min-a

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