Category Archives: Dance

Images of American Youth Culture in Kpop MVs

It’s cultural appropriation when the Subject takes the Other’s customs as accessories; it’s cultural appropriation when the ideological Majority (re)interprets the Minority’s norms and tastes.  Is it a gushing compliment when the latter inserts former’s cultural mise-en-scene?

I love these songs and the music videos.  I know that cheerleaders, lacrosse players, and football players are not exclusively North American “properties.”  Nonetheless, I wonder about the line that separates an effective incorporation of another’s look-and-feel from satire from shameless borrowing.*

It’s harder to avoid consciously emulating others’ visual representations of themselves because their lifestyles and fashion choices are but an app and internet connection away.  The disconnect for me is that the clothes and sets signify North American culture but the people in it are not North American (geo-politically speaking).  It seems real but it isn’t.

Girls’ Generation‘s “Oh” — spot the imac g3



AOA‘s “Heart Attack”


EXO‘s “Love Me Right”

* The art direction of Shinee’s “1 of 1” mv is a fantastic nod to New Jack Swing and fashion trends of the 90s.  Uncut version of Troublemaker’s “Tell Me Now” mv.  Psy’s “Gangnam Style” does not satirize directly American culture but because much of American popular culture is tied to excess and luxury, I thought it a fitting example — and the blog post is excellently written.

PS. Many members of Kpop groups (and likely creative staff) were born in or group up in Canada and the US, so it makes sense why they would bring a Westerner’s visual style perspective.   They still have to abide by the customs of their ethnic heritage (what is considered offensive and what isn’t), so depictions of violence, sexuality, and mind-altering landscapes would necessarily be affected.

PPS.  I still don’t fully understand the reggae thing.  I get the appeal for a musician, but the braids?  Je ne le comprends pas.

Deep into the Groove

Their bodies spin, slice, crumple, and roll like dice.  Their limbs go rigid then fluid again in under a blink of the eye.  No mandatory balls to catch, no pucks to pass, no bases to steal, just bodies in motion bending and rippling like water waves.  

I’m not referring to football players, hockey players, baseball players or any of those ball players.  I’m talking about dancers.  I am utterly transfixed by the Kinjaz.  Last night, I saw Wong Fu’s “Kpop” video and making-of.  A few of the members of the dance crew Kinjaz were featured in it.  Of course, I looked them up on YouTube and spent the next three hours watching their dances.

Just watch.

My favorite dancers from the group are:

Jawn Ha

Pat Cruz

Vinh Ngyuen

I’ve watched plenty of dance crew vids on YT and sometimes they start looking the same, especially when they’re from the same crew, but so far Kinjaz has proved choreographic consistency without being self-derivative.



Off Topic: Today’s Verse 88

 photo Eyaf.jpg

The screech of metal on metal,
a propeller from backstage to the proscenium,
the impact feels much slower
than I remember.

The last time I was surrounded
by flamenco dancers masquerading
as patrons worth every dollar,
the sun dipped down
below the islands of the Dominican Republic.

The polo boys were feverish,
speckled hoops of dirt on sinews
reminds me I’m sitting under white lights,
pouring over footnotes and marketing jargon.

The memory of passion fruit and orchids
Yanks me back to signing
below the dotted line
after the screech of metal on metal,
a flick of the wrist and I’m the new owner
of salient horsepower.

— yiqi 17 Feb 2016 10:01 pm


The above poem is based on a series of texts.

Fry Bread is So Good

I have wanted to try fry bread ever since I read about it.  I have wanted to go to an Indian Pow Wow* since I read about it.  Stone Mountain has held one around Halloween for years and today I went for the first time.  I had fry bread from Nikki’s Frybread and it was so good — moist, a little bit sweet, and reminiscent of the Taiwanese breakfast staple, you-tiao (breadstick).  Specifically, I had an Indian Taco.  Yummy, not gluten-free but I had to try some. I know from youtube videos that one can make it from gluten-free flour, though.

I saw the grand entry of the tribes and when the Red Boys starting drumming, my heart felt alive.  I didn’t take too many photographs or videos because I wanted to be as present in the experience as possible.



I came home with a pair of dragonfly earrings from Wild Sage Native American Jewelry and made by Peggy Leekya of the Zuni tribe.


I also got a photograph of a bald eagle from Paul De Luna.  The bald eagle is one of my spirit animals.

Here are a couple of videos I shot:

*Indian as in Native American/First Nations/Indigenous People of North America