You may have seen people practicing dancing to loud music in the Student Hall or students wearing black club jackets that have ‘R.A.H’ written on the back. You may have also seen people performing on stage during the school festival and felt their special chicness. They are the members of R.A.H, a University of Seoul (UOS) Central Club. R.A.H stands for “Resistance Against Hamper.” Even the name of their club sounds chic. But, are they really chic and cold like the color of their jacket and their club name? For this edition of The UOS Times, we interviewed the president of R.A.H, Yun Young-seo, (School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, ’12), to find out what it is really like in R.A.H.
Q When do you recruit new members? We constantly recruit new members. Not only freshmen, but also anyone who has interest in dancing can come to our club. Even students from neighboring universities or company workers come to learn dance in our club.
Q When students join R.A.H, do they have to participate consistently for several years? There is no limit to stay in our club. Generally, when students become sophomores or juniors, they have the pressure of studying so they no longer participate. However, if they want to participate in the performances during the school festival, they can take part in the practices and perform together. As long as the students practice hard, they can participate in any kind of R.A.H performances.
We do not force students to participate consistently. However, when you do, you become better at dancing and when you often come to practices, you will be more loved by your seniors. You cannot dance well without practice. If you do not participate consistently, you might feel inferior to other students who have continuously practiced.
Q In general, which departments do most of R.A.H members come from? I cannot say precisely since there are students from many different departments in R.A.H. In this sense, one of the merits of R.A.H is that you can meet many different students from diverse departments. However, in general, if I have to say, there are a lot of students from the College of Engineering.
I have heard that students have to participate in auditions when they apply for R.A.H. Could you tell us about the audition?
The audition is not a serious one. It is just new members meeting seniors and somewhat of a talent show of the new members. Two new members go into the club room and ask the seniors to turn on a certain music and dance, or just dance to any kind of music. New members should briefly dance. Two years ago, a student brought a 1.5 liter Coke with him and drank it all at once. This year, a male student, dressed up as a female, came in and danced to a female singers’ song.
Q If students are not good at dancing, can they still join R.A.H? Yes! When students practice a lot, they can overcome their clumsiness at dancing. A lot of students actually ask this before applying for R.A.H. You may be surprised to hear that most members of R.A.H have never danced before joining the club. If you have passion, you can ask the team leader or your seniors for extra practice and they will be willing to help you. When you come in, you may fall behind because a few students have danced before or learn quickly. However, if you just feel inferior and do not participate in the practices, your dance skills will not get better. You have to consistently practice to get better.
Q What kinds of dance genres are there in R.A.H? Currently, there are six dance genres: Hip-hop, Girls hip-hop, B-boy, House, Poppin and Waacking. Each genre has a team leader and its own members. The team leader of hip-hop sometimes learns Krump through online video footages and teaches us Krump. We sometimes go to an institute to learn it.
When students first come into our club, they choose the dance genre that they want to learn. If students cannot decide right away, they can choose two to three genres, participate in the practices and decide later. Students can choose more than one genre, if they can do them all sincerely.
Q When do you have practices? It is different in each dance team. However, in general, there is a practice once or twice a week, for two to three hours each. Of course there are more practices before the UOS festival and our end-of-the-year performance. Before the UOS festival, we usually practice every day for three to four hours.
Q When students think of a dance club, most people will think of a strict dance crew. Is R.A.H strict on its members? Not really. However, new members, especially freshmen, fear coming to the club room. They say that when seniors are dancing in the club room there is some kind of a powerful ambience, so they cannot come in. However, seniors always welcome new members when they visit the club room. There is no strict or scary atmosphere at R.A.H, so please do not be intimidated.
Q Tell us about the activities of R.A.H other than performing at the UOS festival. It depends on the president of the club. However, usually there are a Membership Training (MT), a group practice, the foundation festival, the annual performance and performance at the UOS festival. The group practice is in May. The dance teams of different genres always practice by themselves, but during the group practice, all of the R.A.H teams practice together. During the foundation festival, we contact our seniors, even those who have graduated. We rent a classroom on campus and show our seniors video footages of our activities and new members of R.A.H do a short talent show. Some students might think that when a dance club goes on an MT, they only dance to have fun. However, dancing is a small part of our MT. Our MT is like that of any other UOS clubs. We have barbeque, play games, drink and dance if we want.
Q Do you participate in dance contests outside of our university and how good is the dancing ability of R.A.H? We participate in dance battles with other university dance clubs. R.A.H won the University B-boy Battle, AZAR Battle Vol.1, Krump Session Vol.14 and UDC Battle. We won the second place in the Krump Session Vol.9, VOL.10 and the university club battle. Also, we went to the semifinals in the Keep Dancing KrumpSide and RUReady Vol.3.
In March 2013, UOS hosted the University B-boy Champions (UBC) with the effort of the 2011 R.A.H president. It took place at Jajakmaru with dance clubs from Korea Univ., Yonsei Univ., Konkuk Univ., KAIST, Sungkyunkwan Univ. and more.
Q Many UOS students have seen R.A.H practicing everywhere in the Students Hall. Why is that? We have a very small club room. Only one dance team can fit in the room. Therefore, we use the spaces in the Student Hall. We practice a lot in front of the entrance of Anneken (the second floor student cafeteria in the Student Hall). Students who eat at Anneken are reluctant or embarrassed to pass through our practice and go around to the other exit. Of course, we are a little bit embarrassed too. I want to tell students, “We do not bite, so you can pass by during our practices.”
Q Last words to UOS students. When you join our club, you will be able to relieve your stress by dancing. There is no strictness in our club, so you will be able to dance in a free atmosphere. After you practice hard for the UOS festival and perform on stage, you will feel a sense of thrill and be proud of yourself and your team for successfully pulling off the performance. Also, as I have said before, you can meet many different people because R.A.H members are from diverse majors. Even if you are clumsy at dancing, if you love to dance, do not hesitate and just join R.A.H! We do not bite!