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Saturday, December 2, 2023

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SDSU's Dance 383 students participated in pre-game festivities at Petco Park for San Diego Padres' Korean Heritage Night. (Paulina Castellanos Wade/SDSU) SDSU's Dance 383 students participated in pre-game festivities at Petco Park for San Diego Padres' Korean Heritage Night. (Paulina Castellanos Wade/SDSU)

PHOTOS: SDSU K-pop Dance Class Performs at Padres Game

The performance was part of the San Diego Padres celebration for Korean Heritage Night.
By Paulina Castellanos Wade

San Diego State University dance students opened Tuesday’s San Diego Padres game with a K-pop choreography performance for the team’s Korean Heritage Night.


This was the third annual Korean Heritage Night celebration for the Padres, but the first in which the SDSU community participated. Students in the class volunteered to be a part of the experience. Nearly 30 students from the School of Music and Dance’s’ K-pop Dance class (DANCE 383) turned out for their performance in front of hundreds of fans. 


The class, taught by Chuyun Oh, associate professor in the School of Music and Dance, focuses on the evolution of K-Pop dance and music, connecting students from all different kinds of majors and backgrounds who have a shared interest and passion for Korean dance culture. 




“I think that what makes the event more exciting, is that most of the students are not Korean and not even art and dance majors,” Oh said ahead of the performance. “They are general education students, so they are majoring in engineering, science, nursing, communication, but they get such an exciting opportunity to perform in front of more than thousands.”


Students gathered over long hours outside of class to learn an original K-pop song and choreography. Other students interested in K-pop culture but not in the performance collaborated through other roles in planning the event, such as light designing, audio and promotion. 


Oh said the students were excited for the opportunity that the Padres provided them to shine on stage to a big audience and celebrate diversity in this Korean Heritage Night.


READ: SDSU Offers First K-pop Dance Theory, Practice Class in the U.S.


“I want them to have fun, I want them to feel happy and proud of themselves,” said Oh. “I think K-pop is really helping students to boost their confidence to some extent, also just giving them a chance to get all the cheers from the audience.”


Itzel Detres-Martinez, a third-year art major, said she was a K-pop fan long before enrolling in Dance 383 and that the course was a nice respite from the heavy doses of upper division studies. Preparation for the Petco Park performance did require a lot of homework, she said, "up 16 hours of dance practice" in various rehearsal spaces.


"We only had a week to do it. All the songs I would say are very high in energy and have a playful, yet serious, kind of vibe. And they're all they all have a lot of expressions in them," said Detres-Martinez.


Education major Emily McIntyre Esteban, a sound technician in Dance 383, said the class is composed of people from different backgrounds and fields of study. The eclectic mix has brought together various perspectives and created a unique community with K-pop being the common thread.


McIntyre Estaban and her small team of sound technicians controlled cues, leveling audio, and switching between music soundtracks and the emcee. To prepare, she crammed soundboard lessons on the internet.


So, how will the experience of producing a show in front of thousands of spectators at Petco Park shape her aspirations of teaching?


"To me, teaching itself is a performance," McIntyre Estaban said. "So you have when the kids come in, when do you feel like you should start the class? When do you think you should pause the class starting again? It's like all these cues like there's, to me, the classroom itself is a performance.”


Oh said as the program continues to grow visibility and performance opportunities, her goal remains to offer a course that SDSU students will find culturally enlightening as well as a form of fun exercise.


“I’m excited that K-pop is providing another social dance and physical wellness activity for our students … I’m happy to provide some creative performance opportunities for students,” said Oh.


Following the performance, Padres ace Blake Snell threw seven hitless innings to lead his team to a 2-0 win, their sixth straight.


SLIDESHOW: K-Pop Class Dances at Petco Park