In the world of Korean pop, distance keeps many international fans from getting firsthand experience with their favorite artists’ dance routines. A new club on the Forty Acres is bringing K-pop dance choreography closer to home.
K-pop Beat allows students of all skill levels to learn K-pop dances in a relaxing, stress-free setting. K-pop Beat generally holds student-led workshops on Saturday afternoons in Gregory Gym.
One of K-pop Beat’s co-founders, Kei Hsu, a journalism and radio-television-film freshman, said that the club intends to make K-pop dances more accessible for students.
“We have audition-based dance crews at UT, but I wanted to make a group without auditions for people who just wanted to improve on dance and learn different K-pop dances,” Hsu said. “(K-pop Beat) is super relaxed, and it’s just a way for people to improve on dance and to get to know other people that are into K-pop.”
Though K-pop Beat began holding workshops last month, Hsu said that she and K-pop Beat’s other co-founder, computer science freshman Chris Tian, first thought of creating the group last semester.
“It honestly just started as (Chris and I) texting back and forth about how cool it’d be to have this sort of group (on campus), but then we realized a lot more people were interested in doing workshop-based, K-pop dances,” Hsu said. “Then we talked to other people at auditions and other people that were into K-pop, wanted to learn K-pop dances, or even just wanted to learn to dance in general.”
Generally, K-pop Beat’s workshops last from an hour to an hour-and-a-half. These workshops consist of group stretches, a demonstration of a section of the choreography and then a slow, step-by-step run-through of the dance.
Hsu said that K-pop Beat’s workshops are a judgment-free zone.
“I always tell people that come to the workshop, ‘If you’re getting everything perfectly or you’re just breezing through, you’re in the wrong place,’” Hsu said. “(At K-pop Beat), we’re trying to learn new things and how to improve ourselves.”
Tiffany Demesi, a K-pop Beat representative and government freshman, described their workshops’ atmosphere as “chill and friendly.”
“The workshops I’ve been to were really free because people could come and go whenever,” Demesi said. “Some people came in late, but they were able to come in and learn the choreo really quickly.”
For choreography at future workshops, Tian said that K-pop Beat is open to anything.
“If everyone wants to learn one dance, I’m not going to say, ‘Hey, let’s not do that,’” Tian said. “As long as only one person isn’t wanting to do stuff, we’ll do it.”
Tian said that K-pop Beat has helped him improve as a dancer.
“To me, (K-pop Beat) is practice,” Tian said. “In terms of growth, I haven’t felt anything yet, but it’s just one of those things that you have to keep on doing. So, K-pop Beat is definitely helping.”
In addition to helping her improve her dance skills and make new friends, Demesi said that K-pop Beat has also helped her “stay on track with the K-pop scene.”
“In middle school and high school, I used to be so free to learn dances whenever I wanted, but now I barely have time to learn a dance,” Demesi said. “Having (K-pop Beat) and a set time to learn a dance is very beneficial.”
Currently, K-pop Beat has 20 members, but Tian said that he would like to see K-pop Beat gain more members in the future.
“I want our members to leave feeling like they didn’t waste their time,” Tian said. “If they got something out of it, that’s great. But our top priority is having fun.”