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When top Korean Professional dancers took London by storm

By Mulenga Mumba


The K-Pop dance scene in London has been growing at a rapid rate. From people who are simply interested in dancing as a hobby (me), to people who dream of being professional idols and dancers, the amount of people attending K-Pop dance classes has been steadily increasing. This increase has led to a surge in professional K-Pop choreographers and dancers being invited to teach dance workshops here in London.


This year has probably seen the most K-Pop dance workshops ever held in London, in one year (and I got to attend most of them). In April, members of dance team 82Aittytoo (Shawn, Tarzan and Youngbeen) were invited to teach a 2-day workshop here in London at The Hub Studios (I was flailing like a dead fish during this class because the choreo was so advanced for my level, don’t ask for any videos). You may know some of their work: B.I BTBT and Waterfall (Youngbeen).

In May, choreographer Sea Ni, who has worked with NCT, came to London to teach a 1-day workshop consisting of 5 classes at Base Dance Studios (I’m still salty about missing this one). Some of the projects he has worked on include NCT Dream Glitch mode and Hot Sauce, and NCT 127 Sticker and Kick it.


In June, dancer and choreographer Theo Song travelled across the UK to teach in Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, London , Manchester and Glasgow (he taught his own choreography to FEARLESS by LE SSERAFIM, a bop; and Treasure by Bruno Mars - also a bop). He has most notably danced with Red Velvet, BTS, and choreographed for Mamamoo.


(Image Credit: Kda.kr )

From May this year, there was always at least one special K-Pop dance workshop being held (I tried to attend all of them but the Sea.Ni workshop slipped through my fingers). July was no different. KDA.KR, a dance academy based in Korea, and K ARC Dance Studio, who are based here in London, held possibly the biggest K-Pop dance workshop this year.

It consisted of 2 camps, held over a period of 10 days (Camp 1 18/07~22/07 and Camp 2 23/07~27/07) and had all inclusive accommodation at the University of Roehampton (sidenote: it’s such a pretty university, it had ducks and everything).


The workshop, titled K-Dance Camp, saw not one, not two, but 11 of some of the most popular Korean dancers/choreographers at the moment. It also hosted several K-Pop entertainment companies who came to judge in the audition which was also scheduled as part of the camp (I’ll explain more about this in a bit).


Instructors:

11 of the most famous dance instructors at the moment were invited to take part in the camp. Here is a brief introduction of all of them. (Sidenote: they were all so nice. This being my first time working as a translator, I really thought I would mess up so bad but the instructors were all so patient and understanding. Thank you so much for that.)


Choreographer, model and dancer. Is now CEO of her own studio MU:TUDIO based in Seoul, South Korea.


Notable works:



Dancer, choreographer and director at CHEDOTHEMVMNT, a visual art and dance programme, based in Seoul, South Korea.


Notable works:
You Tube: Cheshir Ha

Dancer and choreographer based in Seoul, South Korea.

She is a member of the dance crew WANT, formed for the dance survival TV show ‘Street Woman Fighter’.


Notable works:



Dancer and Choreographer with Just Jerk Academy based in Seoul, South Korea.


Notable works:




Dancer and Choreographer with 1Million dance studio, based in Seoul, South Korea.


Notable Works:



Dancer and Choreographer with YGX and BELEGACY, based in Seoul, South Korea.


Notable Works:

Dancer and Choreographer with YGX based in Seoul, South Korea. Is also part of the YG backup dancer team CRAZY.


Notable Works:


Dancer and Choreographer with JustJerk Dance Crew based in Seoul, South Korea. She is also the leader of the dance crew TURNS, which won first place on the dance survival TV show ‘Street Dance Girl Fighter’.


Notable Works:
You Tube: HaveAGoodNain

Dancer and Choreographer with YGX, based in Seoul, South Korea. She competed as part of the YGX dance crew on the dance survival TV show ‘Street Woman Fighter’.


Notable Works:

Dancer and Choreographer based in Seoul, South Korea and is part of the dance crew TURNS that competed and won 1st place on ‘Street Dance Girl Fighter’.


Notable Works:
You Tube: Who is SONGHS


Dancer and Choreographer with 1Million Dance Studio, based in Seoul, South Korea. She is also the CEO of clothing Brand ILILEO.


Notable Works:





So what was it like?

Classes

The camp kicked off on one of the hottest days of the month. We had students arriving from all over the world. I had the pleasure of meeting the students as they arrived and I can positively say the energy was amazing. Everyone seemed very excited despite having travelled in the early morning to get to the camp. Everyone checked in, had some lunch and had a brief orientation before the first class. The classes kicked off with a class by Minny Park and then a class by Tina Boo. It was really hot that day so I commend both the students and the instructors for persevering through the heatwave. I was there as a volunteer translator, so I had the opportunity to both observe and participate in the classes. The camp was split into two groups with Group 1 being from 18/07~22/07 and Group 2 from 23/07~27/07. I can honestly say that the whole camp was absolute VIBES. From the students to the instructors and staff, everyone had such great energy. There was never a dull moment during the camp.

(Image Credit: KDA.KR, K.ARC Dance Studio, Louise Youles, Jakub Krumpolc)


As a translator, I sometimes got to observe the classes as I translated for the instructors when needed. I really enjoyed watching the focus and motivation the students had when it came to classes. Everyone was so talented; it made the energy in the classes electrifying. The instructors were also very energetic and lively which made the whole class atmosphere very entertaining. It was the kind of atmosphere that made you want to join in.

(Image Credit: KDA.KR, K.ARC Dance Studio, Louise Youles, Jakub Krumpolc)


The general structure of a camp day consisted of 3 to 4 classes followed by some free time to practise for the Audition (in the case of Group 1) or to spend getting to know other camp attendees (in the case of Group 2). The students would be given an hour break in between classes to get some rest and get ready for the next class. I will admit that the schedule was definitely a tight one but both students and instructors worked hard and were enthusiastic in every class. I also got to take a few classes too which were absolutely amazing (sidenote: how do dancers remember choreography so quickly, I was hanging on for dear life most of the time).

(Class schedule. Image Credit: KDA.KR)


Of course, as with every event, not everything goes according to plan. Due to various factors, i.e. the strikes that were occurring on local transport as well as airports, some schedule changes here and there to accommodate the travel schedules of the instructors did occur. Fortunately, it was nothing too major so the camp was able to proceed without too much of a hitch.


Audition

Now, about the aforementioned auditions.

(Image Credit: KDA.KR)


In conjunction with several major K-Pop companies (as seen in the image above), KDA.KR and K ARC Dance Studio also facilitated two audition days during the camp (1 day in Group 1 and 1 day in Group 2). The event saw students audition for companies like Cube, SM, P-Nation and various others. Most of the companies conducted the auditions virtually as they were unable to be in the UK at the time but Cube Entertainment (yes, THE Cube Entertainment. I know, I was in awe too!) was one of the companies that was able to be present in person. There was a large number of participants all giving it their all at a chance to be scouted by the companies. These were closed auditions so only the K-Pop company staff, videographer, K ARC staff and the auditionees were allowed into the audition.


I was also offered a chance to be present during the audition but I elected not to be because I was worried it would make the auditionees even more nervous than they already were (I can only imagine how nerve wracking it must have been). I did however get a peek into the auditions on a coffee run and I can confidently say everyone who participated gave it their all. As far as I’m aware there were a couple of students who made it past the first round and got a call-back ultimately resulting in being selected. Also, because all the auditions were recorded, the videos were also sent over to the companies that were judging remotely.


Overall, the whole experience is one that I will never forget; from not being able to sleep for the first couple of days because I was so nervous (watching Bada Lee’s Aespa Illusion choreography at 4am somehow kept me sane), working with the instructors (who gave me snacks ^^), to meeting all the students (who also gave me snacks^^). I also got to work with all the staff and volunteers who made sure the whole camp ran like a well oiled machine. They were basically the cherry on top of an already brilliant experience. I would also like to say big ups (as in massive well done) to the K ARC team who organised the whole event. I am definitely looking forward to the next one which, if all goes well, will hopefully be held next year (keeping all my fingers crossed for this).


1 Comment


such a well written article!!! i enjoyed the camp so much and reading this really brought me back!!!!

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