On stage at UW-Milwaukee’s Korean Day were two black belt professors who were accompanied by 10 students. The students themselves had their own colored belts: five red belts, three black belts, one green belt and one brown belt. Each belt stands for what level that student has reached in the art of Taekwondo.
During this act, there wasn’t much talking; they were too busy breaking wooden boards with their feet. The crowd cheered and clapped every time a student cracked the piece of wood in half. D.A. Yun’s Black Belt Academy located on 3974 S 27th St, were the demonstrators for the Taekwondo act.
After the Taekwondo, After Party came to show the audience a few dance moves. After Party is a nine- member college dance group that dances to the genre “K-Pop.” This genre originated in Korea, and it’s a modern form of pop music that covers many different styles of music, according to After Party group member Hane Kim.
This event is held every year by UWM Korean Association along with the Korean American Association of Milwaukee. The goal of Korea Day is to promote Korean culture awareness in greater Milwaukee. Students, faculty and members of the community came to join to in the festivities the event had to offer. Wells Fargo donated a check worth $4,000 to UWM’s 11th annual Korea Day.
“It’s a high-quality culture event we take pride in hosting every year,” said UWM economic professor Sunwoong Kim.
Korea Day took place on campus in the Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts on Oct. 7 from 4:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. The event had two parts: free admission and ticketed event. The free admission or also know as “cultural events,” was held from 4:30 p.m.-6:30p.m. This is the main attraction of Korea Day because it show cases what Korean Culture is. There were six acts held during this two-hour period. Each act was different, but accomplished the overall goal of showing the audience Korean culture.
Two of the more popular acts were the Taekwondo demonstration and the performance of After Party.
“The name Taekwondo is derived from the Korean word “Tae” meaning foot, “Kwon” meaning fist and “Do” meaning way of…literally Taekwondo means “the way of the foot and fist,” according to Ronald A. Southwick’s article A Brief History of Taekwondo.
“I want people to enjoy Korean culture and celebrate the culture together to see what it’s about. K-pop has become a phenomenon around the world…that’s why we’re at this event. To show there are many ways to celebrate the culture,” said Kim.
The girls dressed in black leggings as the boys wore different colored Polo hats.
This was After Party’s second time performing at Korea Day. Since the group is filled with college students, they will eventually have to graduate and then be replaced. The group has been around since 2009-2010, according to Kim.
There were two acts after their performance, which ended the free admission part of the event. From 6 p.m.-6:45 p.m., the audience indulged in Korean Food. This part of the event was called, “Taste of Korea.”
The line was out the door as the audience waited in line for their black container of food. The food included multiple Korean food items such as a rice cakes, cookies, rice candy, Dae Chew, Pine nuts and Persinnamin. The dish itself looked very colorful and it gave its audience a glimpse of the Korean food culture.
The eating area was full of people conversing, eating and also asking questions of what they were eating to those around them. Those running the event had no problem answering any questions someone may have had.
Now it was time for the ticket event or as also known as the concert. This event started at 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m and had one less act than the first. The main act was actually the last: Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 35.
Many people had left after the first event, but they were soon replaced by new comers. The concert was put together by the UWM Symphony Orchestra Music Director Jun Kim. The crowd sat in awe as the acts took stage.
Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts was filled with a diverse group of people all wanting the same things: to understand, appreciate and enjoy the Korean Culture.