Taking A Class With My Favorite K-Pop Singers

A few of my favorite Korean pop singers were in town to film a reality show called “Why Not The Dancer” and teach a free dance class alongside with it.

INSTAGRAM @whynot_thedancer

My entire dance life, it’s been my hobby to take as many dance classes from famous choreographers when they’re in LA teaching classes – Brian Friedman (Britney Spears choreographer), Tricia Miranda (Beyonce, Nicki Minaj), Parris Goebel (Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Janet Jackson), to name a few.  Each time I feel incredibly lucky to be living in LA and be able to take these amazing dance classes.

My blessing count put to a test when it was announced that a few of my favorite Korean pop singers were in town to film a reality show called “Why Not The Dancer” and teach a free dance class alongside with it.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I’d be able to take a class from Eunhyuk (who’s the main dancer and rapper of boy group Super Junior, aka ‘Kings of the Hallyu Wave’) and Taemin (who’s the main dancer and singer of boyband SHINee). Amongst the other kpop singers that were to be teaching the class also included Gikwang (main dancer and singer in boyband Highlight) and Lia Kim (famous Korean choreographer with residency teaching at the famous 1Million Dance Studio in Seoul). And they were teaching at the dance studio I frequented the most in LA – Millennium Dance Complex!

However, the minor issue was that once the announcement came out, the free class was immediately full and I wasn’t able to get in. I’d called the studio immediately after finding it was full, and they said they could wait to see if anyone dropped out of class on the day of. The kpop dance gods must have been smiling down on me that day because I was literally the last person let into class just minutes before class was to officially start. It didn’t really register that I was going to be able to watch my favorite kpop singers dance up close in front of me until they walked into the studio and stood almost next to me while Lia Kim started the class off by teaching her famous choreography to a famous kpop song called “Gashina.”  

Millenium Dance Complex
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Learning choreography isn’t usually too hard for me, if I’m not too distracted. And having been lucky enough to take classes from famous choreographers before, I’ve learned not let my inner fangirl take over so I could actually learn in class. But having my favorite singers stand next to me (and at the same time, making jokes and goofing off for the camera), I would say that aside from having an earthquake or having a truck drive into the studio, the biggest distractions in the world were standing in the studio with me. And to make things worse, this was all being recorded for TV, so I had to choose between working hard to drown them out mentally and learn the choreography or use this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and just allow myself to be distracted by the fact that I was given a rare opportunity to take part in even what the biggest fans don’t usually get a chance to have.  

Each of the singers took turns teaching pieces of the choreographies from their own group’s songs (being a huge Super Junior fan, I can proudly say that I already knew the choreography to Super Junior’s latest song when Eunhyuk taught it), and each singer performed their pieces in front of the class while we crowded around them.  I’ve been to quite a few kpop concerts by this point, but the fact that these singers were standing practically arms length in front of me dancing their song in front of me is something I am grateful to the kpop gods for every day.

Lia Kim (being fluent in English since she is a dance teacher at a famous studio) told us to break up into groups, and follow whichever singer’s routine we liked the most.  I immediately ran to Eunhyuk and he was asked to show us the routine slowly one more time. Standing behind him, I was able to dance along with him to his song – a choreography I had learned painstakingly a couple of months prior when the song was released because I loved the routine and song so much, and I was now able to dance behind him with the singer himself.  

Why Not
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The director had called quits to that part of the class for taping purposes shortly after, due to lack of time, however. We were then asked to crowd around the singers again and watch them perform their songs. Although a little disappointed I couldn’t continue dancing with my favorite singer, I was still more than happy to oblige and just stand and watch all the singers dance for us up close again.  

Ian Eastwood, one of the choreographers to SHINee Taemin’s songs, came and surprised him while Taemin was performing his song and freestyled for us as well. I’ve actually been to Ian Eastwood’s class a couple of times prior already, but I think it was the rest of the kpop singers’ first time watching him dance live, and Eunhyuk especially was very impressed by his freestyling.

After class ended, as the remainder of us that didn’t really want the class to end and didn’t want to leave hung around, Taemin and Eunhyuk came up to us to wave goodbye. Some girls ran up to Taemin and gave him a hug, and I used that opportunity to walk up to my favorite singer, Eunhyuk and give him a small letter/gift I prepared for him and his best friend, Donghae (who is also my favorite kpop singer).  

Why Not
INSTAGRAM @whynot_thedancer

I often wonder what makes a person so special that they could have so many fans around the world screaming for them every time they walked past someone. I’m not immune to a person being talented of course, and love the fact that their talents are recognized. But I’m also not the type of person to scream when seeing someone famous, although I could easily get distracted (the class was a great example) and feel nervous around them.

Eunhyuk listened to me as I said to him that I had something to give to him and his best friend Donghae – the eye contact that he gave me and attention he paid to me allowed me to realize why he was so famous around the world within kpop.  He really did have something special in him, aside from his singing/rapping and dance abilities. Due to his language skills, he didn’t carry on a conversation with me, but said “Yes” to when I asked him for a selfie. I was immediately blocked by the director from taking a photo with him, unfortunately.

On a somewhat related note, I was also able to meet and talk to another Super Junior member, Siwon Choi, in an unrelated event a couple of months after. I was completely not nervous around him and chatted with him like an old friend (unlike Eunhyuk, thankfully Siwon is fluent in English). But Siwon also has this presence that he gives you when you’re talking to him, and I think that’s what makes these people so special. Mix that in with still being very humble after over a decade of being “Kings of Hallyu Wave,” it’s a very special aura to possess.

Currently, the reality show that the kpop singers have filmed during their time in LA is being aired weekly on a Korean TV Network. While I may have focused solely on Eunhyuk during class, watching the reality show weekly allowed me to learn more about the other singers that taught class that day.  And each one of them really are as humble and talented in real life.

If you’re interested in all things Kpop – please visit Kpop Omo. They provide free worldwide shipping!

Tracy Cheng

Contributor, JST SHOP Vendor

Tracy loves photography and documenting her travels. She has lived in Hong Kong, London, Toronto and Los Angeles, and has a piece of her heart in each city.

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