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EXPLOREPerforming Arts


DC Hip-Hop Dance Festival Highlights Artistry, with Korean, International Performers

For urban dance fans in the Washington D.C. area, the annual International Soul Society Festival is a can't-miss event.


The third annual International Soul Society Festival comprises more than 20 events at various community venues throughout the D.C. area the week of April 10 – 17, including DJ and dance competitions in which top Korean national break dance artist HOZIN has been confirmed to participate.


The Korean Embassy's Korean Culture Center is proud to sponsor the visit by Hojin Kang, a.k.a. HOZIN, an internationally acclaimed, award winning break dancer, as a cultural ambassador at this unique festival.

For a complete schedule of festival events, please visit http://internationalsoulsociety.com/. Most festival events are free, but not all.


The festival was began with a small grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, but has since grown and to include the involvement of more than 600 local, national, and international artists. This year, with artists from Seoul, San Francisco, London, Montreal, Stockholm, and many other cities worldwide, the festival creates a unique platform for cultural exchange, collaboration, and entertainment.


Urban dance, originating un the United States, had long since taken firm root in South Korea. As early as the 1970s, a variety of urban-inspired dance forms were popping up in Los Angeles and New York under names like “uprock,” “locking,” and “popping.” These physically challenging, visually impressive dance styles were later dubbed “break dancing,” with dancers known as “B-boys” and “B-girls.” Constantly upping the ante and showing off new moves at dance battles between different crews is what has kept this art form fresh, and has led to worldwide popularity, especially in Korea, and participation between dancers round the world.


In 2001, to the surprise of many, a South Korean crew showed up at the world’s largest B-boy contest, the annual Battle of the Year. Although they showed up as the underdogs out of nowhere, they stepped up and blew away the competition, winning top honors. Every year since, a Korean crew has placed either first or second place in the competition.


By William Federer