By Lisa Xu, photo by Selina Yu

The 2016 K-pop Gala was held on Dec. 3 at the Canadian Museum of History. The Korean Cultural Centre organized the event in conjunction with the Korean Embassy in celebration of the upcoming 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation, in hopes of spreading Korean culture and the love of K-pop.

Olivia Truong, one of the members of the organizing committee, said the free, all-ages event was inspired by Daeshik Jo, the Korean ambassador.

“[The ambassador] noticed there was a lot of interest for K-pop and that it was growing, so he thought it was a good idea to have this show and get everyone together,” Truong said.

According to Truong, this year’s gala theme was the history of K-pop through the years.

The K-pop craze started in 1997, and in more recent years, more and more solo artists, viral groups, and girl groups have debuted, according to the Korean Embassy. Since then, K-pop has become a global phenomenon, amassing many fans worldwide.   

Well-known K-pop dance groups from Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal were invited to participate in the event.              

Melissa Moy, a dancer from the Montreal group East2West, said she wanted to participate because being invited by the embassy to perform was an opportunity that didn’t come around often.

Brandon Vo, a member of the Ottawa dance team Salja, said he performed at a similar event last year.

“This year, we just wanted to do it again because we knew it was going to be a big event because it was held by the Korean embassy and we knew it was going to offer more exposure [for our group],” Vo said.

In addition to staff, the event depended on volunteers to help out with logistics and guest relations.

The night started with a reception with refreshments, and after, crowds were ushered into the auditorium where the main event would take place.

For the main showcase, dances were performed in sets, following the chronological order of the evolution of K-pop. Each set of teams was introduced by explaining the historical significance of the idol groups they were covering.

Throughout the night, 12 dance teams wearing co-ordinated outfits performed high-energy, synchronized routines to famous K-pop songs. Teams covered famous idol groups like Girls Generation, BTS, and Big Bang.

Christine Saver, one of the attendees, said she came to the event to watch her friend dance.

“I think [the performances were] awesome. I’m an avid K-pop fan and I [loved] these. It [was] a lot of fun,” Saver said.

Near the end of the event, certificates were presented to the members of the organizing committee. Following that was the finale, which featured a collaborative routine with all of the dancers to well-known K-Pop tunes “Arirang” and “Gangnam Style.”

This year’s gala attracted over 500 attendees, according to Duong.

With the successful turnout for this year’s gala, the organizing committee is interested in hosting similar events in the future.

“Next year will be our third [event],” Truong said. “We’re trying to make it an annual thing.”