|Korea¡¯s Dynamic B-Boys Thrill Israeli Youth
Gambler Crew Heightens the Profile of Korea in Israel
The world-renowned Korean B-boys group, Gambler Crew, made their first visit to Israel, where they attracted the keen attention of the Israeli people, especially local youth and enthusiasts of the hip-hop culture.
Since its launch in 2002, the Gambler Crew has firmly established its reputation as one of the world¡¯s premier B-boy groups, after capturing top honors at various world-class competitions, including B-Boy World Cup and Battle of the Year in Germany (2004), B-Boy Championships in the U.K. (2005), and B-Boy Hodown in the U.S. (2006). Now in the spotlight as a new star of the Hallyu (Korean Wave) phenomenon, the Gambler Crew visited Israel, with support from the Korea Foundation and assistance of the Korean Embassy in Israel, to stage the first Korean B-boy performance in Israel and to conduct a workshop for local youth.
When the Gambler Crew arrived at Israel¡¯s Tel Aviv Airport, just after 10 p.m. in the night, the group was warmly greeted by Korean Councilor to Israel, Park Jeong-nam. Moreover, the group members were surprised to see a large gathering of Israeli B-boy fans at the airport, despite the late hour, who held up banners and posters of the Gambler Crew. They were busy taking photos of the Korean B-boys and shouting out the name of each member of the Gambler Crew.
The Gambler Crew¡¯s performance at the Zoa House was attended by distinguished guests and several officials of the Israeli and Korean governments, including Israeli Minister of Transportation Katz and Korean Ambassador to Israel Ma Young-sam. The capacity audience at the Zoa House reveled in an enthusiastic atmosphere throughout the performance, along with heartily applauding the performers.
After the performance, the Gambler Crew invited the audience to the stage to take photos and simply spend some time together, thereby eliminating the barrier that normally separates the audience from the performers. This opportunity to see and talk with the performers was an unexpected treat that the audience could not resist, as they quickly came onto and around the stage area. As for the Gambler Crew, whose self-stated goal is to challenge the unthinkable through dance, the willingness of the performers to mingle with the audience resulted in a delightful and memorable experience for everyone. After seeing off the distinguished guests, which included representatives from various countries, Ambassador Ma and his wife, and Korean embassy staff members, took the time to congratulate each member of the Gambler Crew. Along with lavishly praising the Korea B-boys for their remarkable performance, Ambassador Ma pledged to arrange additional opportunities for the group to stage performances. The Gambler Crew members were most gratified by the ambassador¡¯s kind words.
Five Israeli TV networks and various other media showed great interest in the Gambler Crew¡¯s appearance in Israel. As part of its in-depth coverage of the performance of the Gambler Crew, Channel 1 reported that Korea was the world¡¯s No. 1 break-dancing country and this was a truly rare opportunity to see one of the world-leading B-boy groups.
In conjunction with the performances, the Gambler Crew conducted an instructional workshop for young Israeli enthusiasts of dance and hip-hop culture. Although expecting a rather small gathering, the members were surprised when they greeted by a crowd of about 100 participants, including Israeli youth as well as younger children and their parents, who contributed to a high-energy atmosphere throughout the two-hour session. The program included one-on-one lessons of basic movements to more difficult dance maneuvers, which enabled the Korean B-boys and the local participants to share their common passion for dance and music. Language was no barrier to their ability to communicate, while everyone left with a sense of sheer pleasure.
The Gambler Crew found themselves busier than expected due to suddenly arranged interviews by local media and television appearances. The group appeared as guest performers as part of Israel¡¯s Break Dance Championships 2009. For this event, at an outdoor stage, the Gambler Crew completed their performance just four hours before the scheduled departure of their return flight home. The championship competition was organized to select a B-boy team to represent Israel in the 2009 Battle of the Year, in Germany.
New Star of the Korean Wave
The performances of the Gambler Crew in Israel were made possible by the support of the Korea Foundation and the Korean Embassy in Israel. Of note, Ambassador Ma Young-sam and his wife invited the members to dinner, while treating them like part of their family, which everyone sincerely appreciated. The Gambler Crew is also grateful to Councilor Park Jeong-nam and Secretary Cho Juseong for their thoughtful assistance in Israel, from the moment of their arrival. In addition, Kim Hyeonhui and Hwang Sun-hui of the Korean Embassy, who served as capable translators and guides, and local staff members, did everything possible to ensure our stay was convenient and pleasant.
Thanks to Korea¡¯s stellar reputation for world-class B-boy teams, it is hoped that Gambler Crew and other groups will continue to have opportunities to introduce this unique aspect of Korean culture to audiences worldwide. Fortunately, the Gambler Crew is fully supportive of the efforts to upgrade Korea¡¯s global image through the performance of their dynamic dance maneuvers on the international stage.