Thursday, June 7, 2018

Where to Learn K-pop Dance in New York? 2018 Update.

Since "Where to learn K-pop Dance in New York" is such a popular post at Wehaiyo!, I thought I would update it to reflect the most current information. I scanned the Internet for the latest updates. Of course, not all of us can go to Korea and join the 1MILLION Dance studio, then for people in New York, the following dance studios are the next best places.


Why do I focus on New York? Because I am based in New York. If there is a popular demand for other places, I may consider posting about it.

If you know of a K-pop dance studio in the New York state, please let me know and I will feature the dance studio in my next update.

#1 – I Love Dance (ILD) – Manhattan and Queens, NY

Certainly, the number one place I recommend to learn K-pop moves  is to go to the I Love Dance studio in Flushing or Manhattan, NY. According to their website, more than 80% of its members are non-Korean, so that is great for those who may be intimidated by not knowing the language or culture. Their Facebook page has more than 20,000 followers.

Honestly, it doesn’t get any better than this place where founder MJ Choi and her staff are super dedicated to the art of K-pop. They have classes regularly in Manhattan and in their main studio in Flushing. I Love Dance (ILD) feature monthly K-pop dance classes where students learn the choreography of a featured K-pop song or songs each week over the course of one month.

From time to time, I Love Dance recruits dancers to cover a K-pop music video. I Love Dance also organizes flash mob activities in the New York/New Jersey area, especially when a K-pop concert is held in the area. Personally, I have participated in the first K-pop flash mob in Times Square in October 2011 and the 2NE1 Flashmob in August 2012. It doesn’t matter whether you dance well or bad, as long as you have the dedication, you will be accepted into I Love Dance. MJ Choi is a charismatic person.

After the completion of learning a dance, the class dance is usually recorded and uploaded on Youtube. I would encourage everybody to subscribe to their Youtube channel. You’d be amazed at what students can learn in a month.  MJ Choi has an affinity for Korean hip-hop style dances. I have never taken an official class at I Love Dance, but my advice for students would be to be dedicated, don’t give up, and practice! I sincerely believe dancers can become K-pop stars after training with I Love Dance.

Other Flushing classes include Kpop diet dance, yoga, kids Kpop, and kids modern dance classes. Other Manhattan classes include basic popping and K-pop diet classes. I Love Dance also welcomes suggestion for K-pop song choreography requests.

Classes at I Love Dance are considered expensive, but I can see it is worth the money with great instructors, organized business structure, professionalism, and their very own dance crew. Currently, I Love Dance offers monthly packages with 1-6 or unlimited classes per week and they also have a special drop-in class price. Flushing and Manhattan locations have the same price.

The 1,600 foot I Love Dance studio can be rented for parties or events. K-pop class instruction can also be an added service for the special event.

Every year, I Love Dance hosts a annual showcase with an admission charge featuring K-pop and Hip-Hop performances.

#2 – Born Star Training Center– Manhattan, NY

For those dancers who think about being a Korean professional singer or actor, Born Star is an option. Founded in 2008 by the Korean rock guitarist, Kim Tae-Won from the famous rock band, Boohwal, many trainee hopefuls may gravitate towards Born Star Training Center, which may provide them experience and the path to success and stardom. Kim Tae Won also acts as the Director or Dean of Born Star Training Center.

Born Star Training Center has close ties to many agencies. Opportunities may include produce digital music singles, television dramas and films, commercials, and other multimedia contents. Trainees will have opportunities to attend casting calls and may be represented by Born Star. To enter the Born Star as a trainee, the applicant must go through a four-step admissions process: Application, Interview, Audition, Registration and Evaluation.

The facility itself has practice rooms, recording studios, and class rooms just like a entertainment company. There are programs in acting, vocal, musical, dance, and Korean language.

The reason why I am including Born Star Training Center on the list is because they do have drop-in and hobbyist dance classes. Dancers may purchase a single class or a four-class package. Classes are 90-minutes long with a timeline of warm-up, learning the dance technique and choreography, recording a dance video, and ending with the cool down/stretch.

#3 – Bodhi Fitness – Queens, NY

If you’re cash-strapped, I recommend going to Bodhi Fitness in Flushing, NY for your K-pop fix. Joanne teaches the Let's Dance and Abs & Stretch classes at Bodhi Fitness. Classes are 40-45 minutes long and begin with a warm-up before learning choreography. I joined Bodhi Fitness for about two years before I stopped my membership after the birth of my daughter in 2014. Even though the class are short, there is a good amount of choreography each time. I do not recommend skipping a class while learning choreography for a song because afterwards, it is harder for a student to catch up, unless the choreography happens to be easier. To do my best, I usually attend classes, download the actual dance choreography on my phone, study it on my free time, and practice on my own time. Otherwise, I would have to relearn last week’s choreography and commit the current week’s choreography to memory. After learning the entire song, we used to film our dance cover casually and the video is uploaded to a closed group on Facebook. Seeing a video of myself is great for the memories. There is no pressure to dance well and I’ve seen a lot of people quit the class upon their first try because they probably feel too overwhelmed, especially when they join mid-way through a song.

Classes are included in your membership to the gym. Please ask Bodhi Fitness for the current prices. Taxes and fees are included plus there is free parking in the basement. If you have health insurance that reimburses you for gym visits, Bodhi Fitness should fit the requirements and essentially defray the costs partially or entirely.

I paid $365 for a yearly membership. That’s $7 a week, $3.50 per class. I also take belly dancing and Zumba with another wonderful instructor so the savings are even more. If not, other prices are 6 months for $270, 3 months for $170, or a monthly membership $50 + $50 initiation fee. 

#4 – DreaMer Studio – Manhattan and Queens, NY

I recently heard of DreaMer Studio through an Instagram ad, which lead me to think about updating this topic. I am happy to discover more places that teach K-pop dance. I did not take any classes here, but I can see that DreaMer studio is a great fit for those who are beginners and would like to try it out. Based on their website and Facebook page, the staff seems to be fluent in English and Chinese. According to their website, every class includes review time of the choreography in slow motion at the beginning of class. A music tutorial video may be provided if requested. Personally, I think it is hard to learn the choreography without some type of video guide to look at while I practice outside the studio. I used to sit in the car and review choreography, rewinding a million times until I think I know the choreography on top actual practice.

Besides offering K-pop classes for girls, DreaMer Studio specifically offers classes for boys as well. Rose Lu teaches boys style K-pop while Sherlin Li teaches hip-hop girls style K-pop. There are other instructors who teach popping, hip-hop, and girls dance. Classes are available for adults, teens, and children at the Queens or Manhattan location. I see other classes available on the Flushing location calendar such as fitness, jazz, G style jazz, kids foundation, and pole dancing classes. On the Manhattan calendar, Hip-Hop Foundation, Urban Choreo are classes not previously mentioned, which are held on weekends only.

DreaMer Studio releases videos of some of the songs that they are working on in the studio as well as make Youtube videos of the choreography that can either be personally choreographed by their choreographers or the official choreography of the song. The videos are not at the level of I Love Dance studio, but again, this is a great choice for those who are beginners to show their talent.

Besides K-pop dance, DreaMer Studio offers music instruction in guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, bass drum. Vocal lessons are also available. Music classes are available at the Flushing location only.

It seems the DreaMer studio itself can also be rented as well. 

Dreamer Studio itself also sells its own apparel, so feel free to go to Flushing to check it out.

Tuition is clearly stated at the Flushing location with the options to pay per class, 10-40 classes (with expiration dates), or a one, three, six month or one year unlimited class card for all classes with the exception of pole dancing. A kids card is available to take one class per week for two months, half year, or one year with expiration dates. Private instruction is also available per class, 12 classes with a bonus class, or 20 classes with two bonus classes. Private instruction for more than one person can also be inquired with DreaMer Studio staff. The prices overall seem affordable and that is good bonus to join them now before they start raising prices.

There are also special events that I did not mention, so please be sure to follow their Facebook page to make sure you do not miss out on free classes or summer camp sessions.

At the Manhattan location, there are options to pay per class, but there is a promotion where a dancer can take two classes for the price of one class. Otherwise, they also offer the 10-20 class pass with the same prices and expiration dates as the Flushing location (Note: prices are subject to change after publishing this post). 

#5 – Eastern School of Music, Art and Dance – Queens, NY

The Easter School of Music, Art and Dance is a great option for young students to learn K-pop as well as the other arts. K-pop classes are available every Wednesday and Friday, 6:00-7:00 PM for ages 7-10 and 7:00-8:00 PM for ages 11-19 for either eight lessons, once a week or 16 lessons, twice a week. Please see the website for the latest tuition price. The dress code is comfortable clothes and sneakers.

Girls, aged 6-11, who are very interested in Kpop dance can join the Eastern Dance Crew where practice is held every Friday from 7:00 to 8:00 PM in a 12-week program. Those who are interested must be already in the K-pop class, receive a recommendation from the dance instructor, and need to audition and contact the school for audition times and information.

Namhee Kang and Joanne Lee (who also teaches at Bodhi fitness) are the dance instructors.

Other than K-pop classes, there are art, ballet, voice, percussion, guitar, brass, woodwind, strings, piano, and language classes. This is the type of place that will train students from beginners all the way to professionals. For music students, the Eastern School of Music, Art, and Dance also hosts NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) and ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music). The school also has a repair shop to service instruments. Music instruments are also available for rental. The Eastern Hall at the school can also be rented for special events.

The school operates on three semesters a year: Spring, Summer, Fall. An Eastern School Festival is held annually for students to showcase their talent. Participants are expected to pay application fees to join this event. 

#6 – Lollipop Dance Studio, Brooklyn, NY

Founded in 2007, Lollipop Dance Studio offers K-pop dance classes seemingly for all ages. The studio also performs dance covers and post dance videos on their Facebook page. Mandy is the instructor for K-pop classes. I saw that they also held a dance showcase at the Fort Hamilton High School.

Overall, the instructors and students seem to be a fun group who love to dance. They may dance to or perform Chinese songs as well. They also offer other classes such as Hip-Hop, Street Jazz, Ballet, Salsa, Latin Dance and more styles.

Hopefully, I introduced you to enough options to get your k-popping started. I wish you all the best in going out there and showing your stuff. Be limitless! 

I hope to also write about K-pop Zumba in a future post. Stay tuned...

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