Miao establishes K-pop club, opens up world of dance to students


With its quickly-growing presence in music and media all over the world, Korean pop music, commonly known as K-pop, has gradually become a global sensation.

Since dance culture is a key part of K-pop, K-pop groups often have entire choreographed dances for many of their songs.

Like many K-pop fans, Melody Miao (9) expresses her love for the music by learning and executing the dances.

Previously, Miao’s dance experience was restricted to only ballet and traditional Chinese dance, even though she had an interest in hip-hop.

Practicing K-pop dance has allowed Miao to connect closer to hip-hop.

Since stopping dance classes, she now dances to K-pop whenever she has time, creating a closer connection between her and hip-hop, along with the K-pop music she dances to.

Having already tried K-pop dance herself for a year before coming to Westview, Miao was shocked that there wasn’t already a K-pop club on campus.

“Before I came to Westview I was really excited because I thought, ‘Oh is there a K-pop club? There has to be a K-pop club at Westview,’ and there wasn’t, so I had to start one,” Miao said.

Using posters and word of mouth through the close-knit community of K-pop fans to spread news of the club’s first meeting, around 20 people showed up at the first meeting, shocking Miao with their enthusiasm.

“Before I even came [to the first meeting] people were already dancing and screaming, they already played their music and it was really crazy,” Miao said. “I was actually nervous for our first meeting so I was really surprised to see them all dancing.”

After informing everyone about the meeting times and agenda, Miao started them off with two dances to “GoGo” and “MIC Drop,” both by the popular boy group BTS.

To learn the dance herself, Miao, along with Junna Chen (11), the club’s vice president, first watched slowed-down music videos, performances and dance practices to analyze each move.

At the meeting, move by move, Miao and Chen demonstrate the dance for the chorus of each song, going through each movement while slowly increasing their speed, stringing the moves together to finally match the song tempo.

Although Chen and Miao both have a background in dance, the club welcomes anyone of any skill level who simply enjoys dancing to K-pop.

“I know people were scared to join the club because they’re like ‘I’m not a dancer, I’m not good at dancing, people will laugh at me.’ but acutally a lot of us aren’t dancers.” Miao said.

For fans of the K-pop music, Miao says dancing to the choreography of the songs makes them more confortable with the music.

Dancing to K-pop also makes dancing more enjoyable for listeners since they preform the same choreography as the artists who create the music, giving them a better understand and connection with the songs.

While Miao also dances herself in her free time, she says the club helps people connect with peers who share the same passions.

“I think it’s mostly just a good way to bond rather than ‘Oh I’m gonna get judged by my dancing abilites’” she said. “I think we’re all at different level but at the same time we all  share the same passion so I feel like we should not worry so much about being judged by other people.”

With only 45 minutes for each meeting, Miao only teaches the  dance for the chorus of each song, since teaching complicated choreography to a group of dancers with an range of different skill levels can be a time-consuming task.

Since most groups usually release videos online of their dance practices and live preformances, club members can work on their own time to improve their skills, not just during their meetings.

“If they have to they can practice at home because there are videos online,” Miao said. “They can slow down the videos and practices themselves and practive themselves at home.”

While choosing songs, Miao takes the difficulty of the song dance into consideration.

“Some of the dances are ridiculous,” she said. “They’re really really hard, so I don’t generally like teaching those. Right now, we’re starting off easy and seeing how comfortable our members are with the dances.”

Each K-pop group has their own style of dance, with some that are harder than others.

“Especially for BTS, their dances are insanely difficult. They’re really fast-paced and the moves aren’t exactly the easiest.”

Although Miao tries to select more current songs with easier dances, the club’s members get to vote on which songs to dance to at meetings through polls on the club website.

Since discovering K-pop, Miao has met many new friends through this music.

By creating a club for fans of all different skill levels to gather and dance, Miao said she hopes others can also experience meeting new people and bonding with friends.

Besides offering people a chance to explore a different style of dance, Miao hopes K-pop dance can bring to others the joy it brought to her.