All K-Pop groups have their own distinct, sleek choreographies that go well with their catchy songs. It’s one of the key features that makes the song memorable to fans.
Gulf News tabloid! wanted to get a taste of the dancing skills that South Korean acts pull off so breathtakingly. Along with more than a dozen other participants, we attended a K-Pop dance class at the fourth annual K-Pop Academy hosted by the Korean Cultural Center in Abu Dhabi, where we were taught the dance routine to now-disbanded K-Pop boy band Wanna One’s song ‘Kangaroo’ by professional trainers KyungJin Roh and GyoengA Lee.
If you’re a fan of the global cultural phenomenon and love dancing, here’s a quick guide that might encourage you to take up a K-Pop dance class or even prepare you to become a K-Pop dancer:
1. Join a K-Pop dance class
Whether you want to pursue a career as a K-Pop dancer, sharpen your dancing skills or you simply love Korean pop, sign up to a dance class. The hands-on experience will give you an idea of how K-Pop idols train together and what it’s really like to learn from a professional K-Pop dancer. Roh, one of our dance trainers, is exclusive to Korean entertainment agency Starship Entertainment and has shared the stage with groups such as BlackPink, Winner, AOA and iKon as a backup dancer.
Aside from the K-Pop Academy, there aren’t many such dance classes held in the UAE. An alternative would be watching dance tutorials from YouTubers like Brian and Ellen, imlisarhee, and RPM Dance Crew and many more to help break down the moves easily. There are also mirrored dance practice videos of K-Pop groups’ performances and as well as fancams of a specific member performing on stage on YouTube.
2. Learn the song and basic dance moves
There’s so much to learn in so little time. So, if you’re a slow learner, try to find out the name of the K-Pop song and watch the live performances or dance practice videos of the stars on their official YouTube channels beforehand.
If you prefer to learn during class, that’s fine too. The instructor will simply teach you the moves step-by-step that even a beginner can follow. Either way, you’re good to go!
3. Stay in sync
K-Pop choreographies are often complex, energetic and fast-paced, but, most importantly, it comes with precise synchronisation that K-Pop artists achieve through endless repetition and practice. At the K-Pop Academy, it was, of course, less intense and had a more flexible approach. Though, it really educates you on just how much effort K-Pop acts put into their craft and to be one. So, it’s important to stay in synch with your teammates and to pay attention to every movement.
4. Be a team player
K-Pop members sing in unison while switching dance positions in an orderly fashion. Because K-Pop choreographies come with multiple formation changes and high-speed synchronisation, it can only be done by working as a team, which was seen between breaks when trainees were interacting and helping each other out to get the moves right. It’s all about teamwork!
5. Possess some passion
If you want to take on K-Pop dancing as a profession and share the stage with your favourite artists, you have to be determined, passionate and hardworking. The Korean music industry is highly competitive and is known for its tough training system. The dance trainers shared that it may be difficult at the start but it’s important not to give up.
6. Practice your movements and monitor your facial expressions
Monitor your moves and check the parts you fall short in. K-Pop’s signature dances have visual cues and gestures that are characteristic to a song. So, your emotions, aura and facial expressions are just as important. The majority of K-Pop songs are in Korean, so it’s essential to understand the meaning and feeling behind the lyrics to be able to control the power of each movement.
To help perfect your moves, film yourself dancing to see the areas you need to work more on. Overall, practicing is the way to go!
7. Have fun
The sounds and beats of K-Pop songs are just as infectious as the dance moves. You don’t have to have some serious dancing skills on your first day. Whether you’re new to the phenomenon or a dance pro, just enjoy and move your body to the hypnotising rhythm. If you’re really serious about making it to the K-Pop music scene or becoming a backup dancer, try auditioning.
Hongdae district of Seoul is filled with youngsters dancing to K-Pop covers, and there are tonnes of online videos of talented groups around the world dressed in the band’s signature colour-coordinated clothing and wowing the crowd for carrying out perfectly synchronised dance routines.
You can also spice it up by adding your own touch and freestyle moves, like Korean-based group K-Tigers Zero, known for including a few Taekwondo moves to the choreographies here and there. It’s all about enjoying every moment and just having fun.