Over the weekend, I attended my first K-pop dance class in Japan!
Super excited because it was a song that I love and always wanted to learn!
「Be Mine」 by Infinite
“But… this is not Korean!” I hear you cry. Yeah, yeah. Details. This is the Japanese version of the Korean song. But I like it better because I think they look cooler here and also because I understand the lyrics.
BUT WHO CARES, REALLY.
Please focus on the dance!
I loooove K-pop dances. The moves are so sleek, so well-executed, so AWESOME.
Fu asks me if I am going to ask to move to Korea next because I’m listening/watching Korean songs far more than Japanese songs.
I really wanna love J-pop dances, but my impression of J-pop dances has always been something like this:
「Love so sweet」by Arashi
This is Arashi, arguably Japan’s most popular Pop boy band. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Arashi. But the dance… BUAHAHAHAHSOIASFIOPSLNK!!!! I can’t. I just can’t. WHO the heck choreographs such dances anyway?!!
Granted, this is an old song, but I have not been inspired by any J-pop song, old or new enough to want to learn the dance.
On the other hand…
「To You」 by Teen Top
I went for the trial lesson, which was just as well, because the song I wanted was a one-lesson thing (where they teach the chorus and another small part of the song) rather than the whole song, which is usually spread out over 4 weeks.
My experience with the administrative staff was not the best. I booked for the lesson using the online form. But did not receive a reply until I emailed them 2 days later.
Did they not receive my first correspondence? Or did they forget to reply? Choose not to reply? I’ll never know.
Then on the actual day when I stepped into the dance studio, at the exact moment I touched the counter, she immediately asked me “Are you here for the trial lesson?” I replied yes.
Without any pause (I swear, she didn’t even wait one second after I replied), she said “1,000yen and ID please.” So snappy and no trace of Japanese politeness. BOO.
The class started on time, and there was quite a considerable turnout. 12 females, 1 male. Haha. Yep, it IS a boy band dance, but from past experience, it is the norm for girls to outnumber guys.
Age-wise, it was a mix. There was a mother-daughter pair (late 30s and 14/15-ish) so that’s about the range of the class that day.
The instructor for the class was Nanami, and she was a very nice, smiley instructor. Her instructions were also clear and easy to follow. I learned the entire routine with no problems at all.
All in all, I think the lesson experience was good. I was hoping the instructor would be Korean, just so I can see how well I can follow the lesson without understanding Korean.
The 10,000yen entrance fee is quite a deterrent though. I’m paying that money for absolutely nothing at all! But it seems like a common thing in Japan, as other studios and gyms have it too :( Ugh.
I will consider joining the school if they have a song I really want to learn, and that no other studio is offering. Otherwise, I will explore other studios in the meantime.
THE DANCE STUDIO
[ Website ]
The one that I went to was Yama & Hotchicks. I do think the name is bit… ￢.￢ but I’m there to learn dance, not literature, so I will :X *zip*. They just opened in February 2013, so the studio is very new and nice.
They seem to hold impressive credentials, what with being the choreographer for the backup dancers of popular K-pop girl groups Kara and T-ara, being backup dancers themselves in MVs, concerts, etc.
On their website, Kara and T-ara even send their congratulatory videos on the studio’s opening. That’s kinda amazing.
They have both Korean and Japanese instructors. From what I understand, Korean instructors will mainly speak Korean, along with a mish-mash of simple English and Japanese. It’s great for someone who is learning Korean.
It’s conveniently located in Shin-Okubo (新大久保）, aka Little Korea.
The place is a 3-min walk from JR Shin-Okubo station, and very easy to locate.
They provide free lockers. I don’t know if there’s a changing room because I only changed my outer top and everyone was just stripping down to their underwear in the same area. There is a toilet right outside the studio for the shy ones.
I made reservations for the class via the online form on their website. But they didn’t reply after two days, so I emailed them instead. I did it entirely in Japanese, but I think if you do it in English with the essentials in like “予約” (yoyaku, reservation), the class name, date and time, they should be able to understand.
Trial lesson: 1,000yen (only once per person) – For you to get a feel of the classes and evaluate if you want to join
Membership fee: 10,000yen – Fee just for joining the studio. That’s it. Does not include lesson time at all.
Each 90-min class: 2,500yen (cheaper if you pay for classes in bulk)
THINGS TO BRING
– Comfortable clothes
– Indoor shoes (basically, shoes with clean soles)
How about K-pop dance classes in Singapore? No problem. I have lobang (Singlish for tips/contacts) for that too! :D
I was learning before I came to Japan, from:
Maybe I’ll do a review one day. But I did about… 5 classes with them? One after another, not all at the same time. So you can be sure they don’t suck, because I sure am not insane :)