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)
Other studios offering K-pop dance classes in Tokyo:
For those not in Tokyo, I found studios offering K-pop dance classes in Osaka:
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 :)
I´m a foreigner living in Japan now!! And I want to attend to K-pop clases in Tokyo too! Did u decide to enter this school or you found another better?
I looooove Kpop!!!!! But I don´t have any friend in Japan that loves it too =( I´m so lonely in K-pop concerts in japan!
Hey!!! I live in Tokyo and I love kpop too and want to go to concerts and attend classes and all that – still deciding which class to go to!!!
Which songs are you planning on learning? Or perhaps I should ask, who are your favorite groups/singers?
Hello fellow K-pop dance learner!
I did not join Yama&Hotchicks because I find the 10,000 entrance fee to be a barrier haha.
I am trying out another school soon (Cielo in the link above) and I hope it will be good! (there is no entrance fee for this school ;)
What are your favorite groups/singers?
hi there! thank you for the information! i was wondering if you knew of any other dance studios that are english friendly, relatively cheap and also teach other genres e.g hip hop and locking? thank you!
Hello! Hmmm, none of the studios in Japan I’ve been to are exactly english-friendly, so to speak. As in, they do not speak English nor conduct the classes in English. However, if you’re worried about the instructions being difficult to follow, they’re not. Besides, you don’t really need to understand what he/she is saying and simply follow the instructor’s step-by-step moves :)
Wow! I’m really surprised that I found a review about it!! XD
If you enjoy any other Kpop dance school review it, please =D
Hi Midorin! Actually I frequent other studios much more (which are the other two linked above). I didn’t do a review because I thought it’s not extremely useful, seeing as Kpop dance classes in Tokyo is such a niche haha. But if you found it helpful, I’m happy :)
Emm can I ask how is it when you went to try out the other two dance studio?? (Planning to try a class at ceilo) Because I just came to Japan recently so I’m kinda scare of the language barrier and I’m not those really good dancer as well :(
The other two dance studios are pretty comparable, so I attend the class based on whether they have a song I like and an instructor I prefer. Different instructors have different teaching styles, so it’s more a personal preference.
In general, they all go through the moves slowly, so I think someone with limited knowledge of the language should also be able to follow along without great difficulties :)
I’ve been attending URIZIP Kpop Dance Studio in Osaka since July 2014 and I could honestly say it was one the best decision I’ve made when I came here in Japan. Before Urizip, I was a total loser with no friends here. LOL.
Instructors and staffs are really kind. And instructors are not just some random people who teaches dance as a job. They are all Kpop fan so that’s a plus.
You’re really going to enjoy the class. >< And last year we held this big sass event. It was nerve-wracking. HAHA
How I wish you are in Osaka so you could go to my dance school. l'm a regular in INFINITE class. And next week we're starting 24時間
'Studio Maru' is affiliated with Urizip, I think. LOL. But is in Tokyo so if you have time, take a visit there.
Ahhh, I’d love to get to know more people who love INFINITE! Too bad I’m not in Osaka!
Yep, the instructors are also K-Pop fans. Far more than I am haha!
Thanks for the info about Studio Maru!
Hello, I live in aioi…osaka is a little too far, do you know any kpop dance class near himeji. It would be a real help if you could reply.