‘Gangnam Style’ flashmob appears at UF

By on September 5th, 2012

Turlington Plaza buzzed with activity as members of the Korean Undergraduate Student Association paid tribute to a video that has become an international phenomenon.

The Korean Undergraduate Student Association held a flashmob on Aug. 31, which paid homage to Korean singer-songwriter PSY’s comedic music video, “Gangnam Style.

The video is in the No. 1 spot on YouTube’s music video charts, beating out the likes of Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen. The video currently has more than 107 million views on YouTube.

Peter Kim, an external vice president for UF’s Korean Undergraduate Student Association, said the inspiration to hold the flashmob came from an idea for an officer introduction video. Instead of having the officers just do the dance, they decided it would be more fun to do a flashmob and make it part of the video.

Monique Bautista, the other external vice president, said the main point of the flashmob is to have fun.

“I think it’s exciting,” she said. “I want to see how many people recognize (the dance) and join in.”

Jee Hye Kang, president of KUSA, said the organization planned the flashmob for about a week and a half. Participants learned the dance through a video and a practice session held at the Reitz Union about an hour before the performance.

According to the Facebook page, 157 people attended the flashmob. About several dozen danced in it.

Antony Rivera, a 19-year-old information systems major who participated in the flashmob, said he loved the “Gangnam Style” video when he first saw it and found it “addictive.” He was nervous about performing in the flashmob at first, but once he started dancing he found out the routine took over.

“I just focused on the music and the people in front of me,” he said.

After watching the  “Gangnam Style” video, Patrick Pagano, an assistant professor in digital arts and sciences at UF’s Digital Worlds Institute, said its mass appeal comes from a mix of its comical and risque visuals.

Pagano also said the video appealed to a larger audience because those watching didn’t need to understand the lyrics to enjoy it.

While these aspects might make the video entertaining, most viewers are not sure what Gangnam Style actually means. Max Fisher of The Atlantic explained that Gangnam is a neighborhood in Seoul known for its wealth and luxury. The music video, Fisher writes, pokes fun at the wealth and materialism that Gangnam represents in Korean culture.

Kang said she was surprised at how popular “Gangnam Style” had become. She said she was pleased because she doesn’t think Korean pop music has received this much attention. She also hopes it will make more people interested in Korean culture.

“Music is just one venue of culture, and if people are interested they can come out and learn more about the Korean culture at our general body meeting.”

Christina DeVarona contributed to this story.

The original viral video

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