Hundreds of students gathered to watch others ride invisible horses as part of a Gangnam Style flash mob Monday afternoon in the Pit.
The Korean American Student Association created the event featuring Gangnam Style, a K-pop music video by Korean rapper PSY that went viral after its July 15 release.
While more than 850 students joined the Facebook event, only a fraction of those students performed the dance.
But hundreds watched the Pit fill up as the song progressed and the number of students dancing grew from just a few to several dozen.
No one anticipated the number of people who joined the Facebook event to grow so quickly, said Matt Lee, vice president of the Korean American Student Association.
“I was expecting like 100 students,” he said. “There were students from N.C. State and Duke that joined the event.”
Many of the attendees were not Asian.
“It’s awesome that (the music video) reached out to other races,” Lee said.
“Gangnam Style” is the first significant Korean music crossover to make an impact in the U.S.
“The song isn’t even in English, so (non-Koreans) don’t know what (PSY) is saying,” said Dana Hong, the association’s international student chairwoman.
Gangnam is not a style of dancing, but rather a wealthy Seoul suburb, comparable to Beverly Hills, organizers of the event said. The song is meant as a social commentary on Gangnam’s obsession with opulence, materialism and appearance.
Heard throughout the song, the word “oppa” is a term of respect, said by a girl to a boy, meaning “older brother,” said Ann Jeong, the association’s secretary.
“You don’t just say it to your blood brothers—you say it to anyone who’s older than you,” Jeong said.
With more than 2.6 million likes on YouTube, the song has broken the Guinness World Record, far surpassing previous record-holder LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” according to the Guinness World Records website.
PSY, who choreographs and writes his own music, attended Boston University and graduated from the Berklee College of Music.
“He’s a curator and innovator of fun music in Korea — music that brings an entire nation together,” Jeong said.
Sophomore Abby Dennison attended the flash mob Monday. She said she thinks the song is popular because of its iconic nature.
“The music shares a lot of elements that we’re familiar with,” she said.
“If you were to not listen to the language at all, the background of the music sounds like it could be an American song.”
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