Hey all! Since my friends and I have been getting really into the K-pop dance scene again, I thought I’d talk to you all a little about the K-pop dance scene!
I’m sure you’ve all seen some flash mobs organized, not only here in Toronto, but also around the world. Flash mobs are, of course, quite difficult to organize, as the organizer needs to find a good location to fit lots of people, a location where many people will view the flash mob, needs to get a lot of participants (most of which are usually people the organizer doesn’t know), and even people to film the flash mob. On top of that, everyone needs to learn the dance, the song needs to be made, and there needs to be someone operating the sound equipment. It actually takes a lot of coordination, and the more well-done flash mobs usually include practices with all of the participating people and actual places and timing for people to jump in.
Aside from flash mobs, though, people can still express their love of K-pop by themselves or in smaller groups through dance covers. I myself have been doing dance covers for about three years now, and, let me tell you, it’s not easy! When I first started out I was so bad at dance, but it was so much fun that I just couldn’t stop trying! Many people who have never had any dance experience before just try to learn the dances by watching the mirrored version of the dances on youtube! This is what I do! There are, however, also K-pop dance workshops, usually held by Korean clubs or at Korean events. I actually teach one of these dance workshops, at the University of Toronto Korea Club. There is another dance workshop, usually led by my friend, Peony, at York University’s 한류 동아리 (Korean club).
If it’s too difficult for you to simply follow the mirrored versions of dances online, there are often mirrored and slowed versions too, usually slowed to about half of the original speed. Furthermore, many people who do dance covers online, often make dance tutorial videos, too. I myself posted some for the dance workshops I was teaching last year.
There are three very important things to keep in mind when dancing:
1) PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE – The more you practice, the easier it gets, and the more you practice, the more comfortable you become with the choreography, to the point that it’s simply engraved in your muscle memory and it comes naturally. When this happens, you become confident, and that’s one of the most important things about dance! Confidence!
2) NEVER GIVE UP – it’s so easy to get frustrated and think “I can’t do this” and want to quit, but dance is about having a good time, not about being perfect or turning it into a chore! If you’ve tried the same choreography over and over again for an hour or more and you still seem unable to figure it out, take a break. Go to sleep and try again in the morning. You’ll notice that, although you were struggling the day before, it’s much easier now, because your brain had time to process what you saw and connect with your body, which was already building up your muscle memory since you’d done it so many times!
3) ADD YOUR OWN FLARE – I know you see idols always looking exactly the same and matching each other’s movements, and if you’re dancing in a group it’s obviously great to be on time with everyone else and in synch, but adding YOU to the dance is important, too! Because it makes your dance unique and it shows off your confidence!
The greatest thing about always practicing a dance is that, once it’s engraved in your muscle memory, it never fully goes away. You may blank out on a couple of moves or forget if you should be facing left or right for a second, but if you are facing the wrong direction, something will automatically feel wrong to you, and it only takes a couple of more practices and perhaps watching the mirrored version of the dance a couple more times again in order to remember the choreography.
And there are always places to perform, even within Toronto, since Hallyu is spreading so quickly! For example, my friends and I performed last year at a Chinese event in Markham:
The last thing I want to talk about is the constant debate of which is harder – male group dances or female group dances?
For me, I’m going to say male group dances are harder, but here’s the catch – it’s completely dependent on the person!
Male group dances focus more on tutting, sharp clear-cut movements, and synchronization with other members to make really cool looking illusions; female group dances, on the other hand, focus more on hip action, suave movements, and adding some kind of sexy or cute expressions. So for most men, it’s probably really difficult to learn and properly dance female choreography, and for most women it’s usually harder to learn and properly dance male choreography, but that doesn’t make it impossible! It just means you need to put a little more time and energy into it, until you train your body to move in that way! Also, it’s not completely gendered, some men actually find female dances easier and vice versa!
And honestly, outfits make a difference! If you’re dressed in sloppy clothes trying to do a sexy or suave dance, it’s a lot harder because the clothes drag you down and make you feel awkward. But, if you’re dressed in more fitting clothes then you feel more comfortable. Same goes for the male dances – wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident!
Good luck to everyone who wants to express their love of dance and/or K-pop through dance! Don’t say you can’t dance or you’re 몸치! It’s not true! Everyone can dance, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun, so give it a go! It’s a great stress reliever :)