Ah, the rush of in-depth.
These past three weeks, Franny, Katrina and I have been chipping away at the dance choreography (progress video to be uploaded after next practice session!)
Since the last post, I have met with my mentor, Sunny, as well Franny and/or Katrina to practice the dance weekly, learning it almost to the point of completion. We’ve had very good progress so far, with minimal roadblocks. The only major one that can be pointed out is the fact that we’ve had to make some noticeable adjustments to the dance choreography, because there are only three people in our group, and seventeen in the original KPOP group. Thanks to Sunny, we have been able to fill in most of the gaps, using our own moves as well as most of the original dance to be able to complete the choreography. It’s very easy to get carried away in terms of liberties with the choreography (after all, it’s not like anyone in the audience has a Ph. D. in KPOP dance), but Sunny reminds us to keep the original choreography as a skeleton, and mold the parts we need to around it. Using this video as a guide, which I have found to be very helpful in noticing, learning, and implementing the tiniest details of the dance, we have near-completed the choreography. By modifying the dance to meet the circumstances of the group, we have actually been able to learn it faster, making our practice session more efficient and yield a higher success rate.
For the past two sessions, our practices tend to go something like this: listen to our song, outline goals for progress, learn any new parts, review parts, run through dance several times, complete a ‘random play’ dance, and run through dance several more times. Wait, what do I mean by ‘random play’ dance? This obscure term refers a popular Korean trend (especially in the entertainment and music industry, examples here and here), which may seem extremely odd and overly exaggerated to an outsider, but is a very common activity that is participated in on Korean variety shows, where the hosts of a show play music at random sections and the participants dance to the corresponding choreography. It sounds and looks kind of ridiculous to someone who isn’t Korean or doesn’t invest themselves into that sort of thing, but I feel like I have stumbled upon a common interest between my mentor and me because of this. Dancing has always been a passion of mine, but I didn’t know how much enjoyment I could get from dancing to these random, flashy KPOP songs with my mentor. The actual dances themselves, being only 20-second snippets from several pieces, were not difficult, but rather the act of having to make a half-second switch from one dance to another made it challenging. I found myself in awe of Sunny’s ability to make these quick changes, and made me respect her even more (cheesy as it might sound).
Communication between us has improved a lot too. Since I find it very difficult to open up in social situations, reverting to my hermit crab-like tendencies is usually the easiest thing to do when faced with a new challenge or meeting a new authority figure. However, through mutual understanding and the ability to respect each other on an equal level, this sense of anxiousness has gone away and I find it very easy to ask her for her opinions, discuss things with her, and converse with her. Before, I felt like I was questioning her authority by asking her to repeat something, as if she didn’t teach it right the first time. Now, however, I am comfortable enough to ask to her explain things again, or to demonstrate a certain move for us
Since Katrina had not been able to join us for a session (due to a water polo tournament), there are some important things we need to fill her in on. Luckily, she has been able to learn the dance on her own, but the parts that we have had to fill in need to be taught. Hopefully we will be able to meet for a session soon. I am very lucky to be in a team where I can rely on all my team members to learn their own parts, because it means that the time we have together is used efficiently and not wasted by having to go step by step on basic moves. By the next blog post, I hope to have the first version of footage ready to post for people to see.
Another goal I have been working towards is working on my solo performance for In-Depth night itself. Popular Korean dance studio, ‘1MILLION’, has a YouTube cover of a popular Korean hip hop song called ‘Half Moon’, which I have been looking at and learning for quite a while. Although I know without a doubt this will be challenging conceptually, physically, and mentally as I have never danced to anything this difficult before, I’m up for the challenge, and am very excited at the prospect of learning this.
Until next time, let’s all hope for some progress and success to come our way!