By Prisca Sam-Duru
The much awaited k-Pop Dance competition finally took place on Saturday, 13 July 2019 at the Tolulope Odugbemi Hall of the University of Lagos, (UNILAG) Akoka, Lagos.
K-POP, a genre of popular music originating in South Korea which is in its 8th edition, held for the first time outside Abuja, to the delight of a massive audience. And it held courtesy of the Korean Cultural Centre Nigeria and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea.
Out of the 37 teams across Nigeria that entered for the preliminary stage of the competition, in April 2019, only ten made it to the grand finale of the competition. To say that the ten teams shook the entire walls of Tolu Odugbemi hall with sizzling and scintillating dance moves, will amount to an understatement. The energy exhibited by the young dancers comprising both male and female, was out of this world. The electrifying dance steps cum acrobatic displays were absolutely amazing and no doubt, more than enough to book them a place on the international scene.
‘Jay Race’ from Jos, ‘Rich Company’ from Kano, ‘Octopus Dance zone’ from Port Harcourt, ‘S.O.C.’ from Sokoto and ‘Yebo Dance Nation’ from Lagos participated in the finals.
Others include ‘D’Generals’ (Port Harcourt), ‘D’Brainy’ (Port Harcourt), ‘Dance X’ (Calabar), ‘Elite Dance Crew’ from Lagos and ‘Isaiah 54’ which came all the way from Katsina.
At the end of the exhilarating and keenly contested dance performance, ‘Octopus Dance Zone’ emerged the overall winner followed by ‘D’Brainy’ from Port Harcourt which came second while ‘Isaiah 54’ from Katsina took the third position.
‘Octopus Dance Zone’ received a N500,000-cash prize in addition to an LG XBoom speaker which was given to each member of the team. N300,000-cash prize and N200,000 went to the 2nd and third position respectively, in addition to an LG XBoom speaker for each dancer in the winning teams.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the event, Dike James, a member of the ‘Octopus Dance Zone’, from Port Harcourt, expressed happiness that his team emerged the overall winner in the competition adding that hard work and adequate preparation saw them through.
According to James, his team members had just finished from the secondary school and were seeking admissions into the university adding that wherever they gained admissions into, they would still continue to dance together as “We are looking forward to representing Nigeria in Korea,” he said.
The Ambassador of the Republic of South Korea, Lee In-tae described dance as an aspect of creativity that teaches respect and helps people to think creatively emphasising that, “K-Pop is now increasingly becoming a universal trend. It binds people from all over the world together; it is a force of unity and friendship as it grows. No matter the language, music, culture or nation, dance will be understood because it is universal.
Many K-Pop artistes have begun to grow their influences through the various social media platforms. And with the rising influence of Idol groups and “Be There Soon” (BTS); K-Pop popularity has gone global,” he said.
Lee In-Tae disclosed that BTS had topped Billboard 200 chart three times, ranked among the TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2019 and also attended the UN General Assembly in Year 2018.
The Korea ambassador expressed joy that more Nigerians have fallen in love with K-Pop dance adding that.
“It has helped to strengthen bilateral and mutual relations between Korea and Nigeria. We have bilateral relations with Nigeria in cultural, economic and other areas,” he disclosed.
The Director of the Korean Cultural Centre, Lee Jin Su, who explained that they wanted to create unity among Nigerians through dance, stated that, “The aim is to promote understanding and strengthen bilateral relations between both countries through cultural exchange programmes.
He revealed further that the participating teams were given the opportunity to choose from any of the listed K-Pop songs, make their video with the songs and submit their entries online for the preliminary screening.