Korea's most famous pop act appears to have incorporated a choreographed interpretation of the haka into their latest tour.
Fan footage from the EXO's first ever solo-headline concert on the May 23 shows the 11-member Korean-Chinese boy band breaking into a haka-like routine, before launching into their debut single 'Mama'.
The song features a Gregorian chant-inspired chorus.
One member in the crowd at Seoul's Olympic Stadium was 28-year-old English teacher Stephanie Town, from Auckland.
"Tickets were about 100 bucks, and went on sale about a month ago and created one of the biggest ticketing wars I've seen. Fan-girls all over Korea all went out to internet cafes with the fastest internet to bid on the most coveted tickets of the year, which sold out in under two minutes," says Town, who describes herself as a huge EXO fan.
Town says some concertgoers ended paying up to $1000 for good seats to see the group, who formed in Seoul in 2011.
The band performs their music in both Korean and Mandarin, and really hit the big-time with last year's hit 'Growl' .
Town says the moment the haka happened, she was separated from her friends and was surrounded by local Korean fans.
"I am unashamedly a huge fan-girl for these guys and so as the concert began I was screaming and cheering and waving my little silver fan light-stick in the air along with everyone else".
Then the haka happened.
"When I realised this was some version of the haka I was witnessing, I just gasped and covered my mouth in shock. I had no one to talk to about it and so I thought, Thank god for fan-cams, because no one will ever believe me!'"
Where the idea for the haka interpretation came from is unclear, but American Tony Testa choreographs many of EXO's videos. Testa also worked with EXO on this concert, called From EXOPlanet: The Lost Planet.
"The idea didn't come from the band themselves, as their have very little to no creative control themselves as is pretty much the norm here. I'd put my money that it was all Testa," says Town.
"I guess they wanted to an alternative 'exotic' theme for the concert".
Town says her reaction was mixed.
"I felt uncomfortable upon seeing it, because of how meaningful it is. No one likes to see their heritage used for entertainment value like that. Knowing that they didn't personally choose to do it makes me able to forgive it. It's the choreographer who should have known better".
However Town says there are positive things to take from it.
"Maybe I'm being too generous, but it's nice to see people enjoying parts of New Zealand culture internationally, and flattering in some way to see these idols of mine pay a kind of homage to our culture".
EXO are now taking their show on a tour around Asia. One can only assume their choreography will go with them.
source: newshub archive