This past weekend the Korean Culture Festival welcomed Koreans and others to enjoy both traditional and modern dance and music at the Mall of America.
Presented by the Korean-American Association of Minnesota and the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Chicago, the festival featured a variety of Korean dances, music, and other performances.
Faith Folley is a dancer with the K-pop performance team MKDC. The group performed K-pop dance covers throughout the festival, with many of the members dancing in multiple performances.
“My experience was very good. I got to experience what it's like to be under extreme pressure, you know, because we did a lot of songs in a short amount of time,” Folley said.
Folley, who is Liberian, says she has learned a lot about Korean culture through K-pop and MKDC. She says that there are many differences between Liberian and Korean cultures, but she still feels welcomed.
“I saw an opportunity to go and they're just really nice. It’s really a nice place to be free without people judging you or anything,” she said.
Julia Hastings is also a dancer with MKDC. Hastings is Korean-American; for her, the festival was a way for more people to learn about her culture.
“When I was growing up, a lot of people didn't really even know what Korea was or they only knew about North Korea. So it makes me really happy to see that the culture is spreading,” Hastings said.
Hastings joined MKDC because she wanted to dance with other people. She says she enjoys dancing both with the group and at the festival.
“I think it was really fun to also see all the people in the crowd - that probably didn't know anything about Korean culture - to see them learn more about it,” she said.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 25,000 Korean Americans live in Minnesota.