Monday, 31 October 2011

Masterclass with SMTown choreographer Baek Koo Young and meeting Eunhyuk

The London KPop Dance Workshop and OZ-Partners teamed up to create a very special event in London for KPop fans. We were very lucky to be given the opportunity to host the first KPop Masterclass in the UK with a professional choreographer/back up dancer for one of the biggest agencies in South Korea - SM Entertainment. This agency has artists such as BoA, TVXQ, Super Junior, SHINee, Girls' Generation and f(x) under their belt.

Tammy (the founder of the workshop) and I (the lead promoter) only had about 3 weeks to plan this event. First of all payment had to be made for his travel, we had to find a studio big enough and cheap enough and of course we had to promote this event as much as we could. In fact, this whole planning lark was so stressful we only found a decent studio about a week before the event was meant to happen! Everywhere was fully booked!

We chose Husky Studios; a fantastic place with very friendly staff members and has been used by the X Factor and record label giants like Virgin, EMI and many more. The studios has many recording studios and 2 dance studios - thankfully the biggest one was available for the date we wanted it for.

We planned as much as we could and even got ourselves customised TShirts with our logo on so that the students could easily identify who the people in charge were, plus...it's just good to have custom made TShirts!

As I had to meet some of our students at the station, I ran out and actually bumped into Rak - CEO of OZ-Partners - Koo Young himself and his assistant Daniel for the first time. Koo Young oozed coolness and had his cap and shades on, looking like the cool dude that he is. I had to quickly scarper to collect the students and made my way back a.s.a.p.

When I came back the number of students in the studio had grown massively and we had about 30 people. Tammy and I gathered everyone together and introduced ourselves, thanked everyone for coming, welcomed Koo Young and Daniel by giving them a big cheer and after that, I led the warm up. Military style! Hope it got you guys pumped up and raring to go!

Then it was Koo Young's turn. He is honestly one of the sweetest, kindest and loveliest guys I have ever come across. He admitted he was a bit shy and was embarrassed at his English but he really needn't have worried - his English was perfect and practically fluent. He first taught everyone the chorus to Lucifer by SHINee which was a massive surprise, as the first class was meant to be a TVXQ number! At first I was annoyed that the dance had changed without us being consulted but then I was like screw it - I'm going to finally learn Lucifer!! And I then became very excited!!

He's a great teacher with mad dancing skills, but he also has such a funny sense of humour as does Daniel. The both of them kept every one of us giggling our socks off with their funny actions! They are both very down to Earth and approachable - not a single Diva bone in their body - and it was such a privilege and honour to work with them both.

We were lucky enough to have the Korean TV channel YTN come and film this masterclass, so hopefully you should see it on Korean TV soon! They interviewed us LoKo's and everyone dancing and stayed for both sessions.

An hour and 45 minutes later it was lunch time, so everyone got to chill out for an hour and look at all the merchandise OZ-Partners had brought along. There were posters, keyrings, post it's, even socks! It went down a storm and everyone was delighted at the merchandise that they bought. Koo Young went up to people and talked to them which was really nice of him. He could have just sat in the corner eating his Nando's but no - he gave everyone the time of day and was eager to talk to the UK fanbase. Likewise with Daniel - he also proved to be very popular with the students! He met Koo Young at SMTown in Paris and managed to get Koo Young to do 4 workshops in Paris, hence how we managed to get him over to London.
We also had two lovely women who used to work at MBC in Korea, they were even producers of the popular TV show "We Got Married". They live in the UK now and are studying, and they wanted to come to our workshop for research. They both had a fantastic time and really enjoyed the masterclass!

The second set was about to start so I led another warm up, and then Koo Young taught TVXQ's "Before U Go". Koo Young created this dance himself and you can see him in the dance video! (You can also see him in Keep Your Head Down and the Maximum dance practice video).
Again, it was a lot of fun learning the dance (there was a lot of banter about hip thrusts, emotions with your ex's and even the dance routine itself!)

Everyone worked really hard and really sweated it out! In both sessions Koo Young got people to do it in groups and then did the dances himself with Daniel. Videos of the workshop will be uploaded soon!

Sadly the masterclass had to come to an end at some point, and this was where everyone started to take their pictures with Koo Young, Daniel, the LoKo's and the new friends they made!

Koo Young was very impressed with the UK Kpop fanbase - you were all very enthusiastic and responsive, you worked hard and you all welcomed them so warmly too. Koo Young would love to come back to teach you all again - and perhaps some newbies! - and I told him to bring more choreographers with him ;-)

Tammy being interviewed by YTN

Baek Koo Young and Daniel

Second session group!

The LoKo Team with Daniel, Koo Young and Rak

Learning Lucifer

Daniel

Koo Young



After the masterclass we took the MBC ladies, Koo Young and Daniel out for a meal. The atmosphere was fun and friendly, with a lot of laughter going on, getting to know each other and just generally had a good time. As a thank you, the LoKo's gave both Koo Young and Daniel gifts which they were very touched with.


And then, the biggest surprise of them all...Eunhyuk from Super Junior was in London!! I had been out of the loop for ages so had missed Eunhyuk tweeting about London...so him coming to see the LoKo's and Koo Young especially was the cherry on top of a very large cake. Eunhyuk came strolling down the stairs in his grey jumper, his blonde hair styled perfectly and greeted us politely as we bowed and said "hello" in Korean. After a few minutes he came over to talk to us! He was just two seats away from me and tried very hard to speak English, although we did say he could speak to Koo Young in Korean and Koo Young could translate, but Eunhyuk was determined! He asked us how old we were and asked me who my favourite member from Super Junior was (I said him and Ryeowook...and he didn't understand...apparently after all this time I've been pronouncing Ryeowook's name wrong! It's pronounced "lee-oh-woo" apparently!) He was also very surprised at how much we knew about Super Junior and asked what our favourite song was. He was pleasantly surprised when I told him I had their latest album, saw the Mr. Simple video on Deanna's phone ("That's me! I got the coat!") and I also played him some of their songs from my phone, and told him "No Other" was my ringtone. I also told him I was at SMTown in Paris. We had some British sweets left over so gave them to Eunhyuk as a gift!

He stayed for roughly an hour before deciding to go back to his hotel for some sleep. He was really kind and very sweet, and we're very, very grateful he took the time to meet us. We took some pictures with him, and then he gave us all a hug each before leaving.

Caroline, Eunhyuk and Deanna

Caroline, Eunhyuk, Rak (OZ-Partners) and Deanna
Caroline, Eunhyuk, Tammy and Deanna
 A massive, massive thank you once again to all of our students for being so brilliant, Koo Young and Daniel just for being themselves and for coming over to teach!! And of course to Eunhyuk who took the time to meet his fans.


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