Meet the Coverstar K Contest winners, HARU Dance!
Hailing from Rutgers University, HARU Dance is a crew that focuses on stellar K-Pop dance covers, as well as teaching choreography classes. Before taking the M!Countdown stage for the night, two of the members spoke with The Kraze to give us a little more insight into their organization.
Q: For our readers who are getting the chance to know you for the first time, can you please give a little introduction about yourself?
A: I’m Carrie, I’m the president of HARU.
A: I’m Rose, I’m the external manager.
A: HARU is a K-Pop dance cover club located in Rutgers, New Brunswick. We are open to people that just want to learn K-Pop dances. You don’t have to have any previous dance experience, just come take classes. We also have a performance team. We perform all over the east coast.
A: We started in 2011 and it was really small, like five people, and now we’ve grown to 75-100 depending on the week. So we’ve grown really big and we’ve also had a lot of success in the past few years. We’ve won K-Pop battles either at KCON [or] Otakon, and we won that three times. Yesterday we won the Coverstar K Contest so we’ll be performing at the pre-show today. And we also competed at K-Pop Worldfest in Washington DC where we also placed first.
Q: Which K-Pop choreography has been a favorite for the studio as a whole this year?
A: My favorite has been “Be Natural” by Red Velvet. It’s really different because first of all, they’re wearing suits, and the dance is pretty sexy but it’s not typical girl group sexy, its toned down and a little more mature. And they also use chairs so it was actually pretty hard for us. At first we kept falling off and hitting each other. I think it’s just really different and really unique and really cool.
A: I also really like Red Velvet choreos. I like their point dances, they’re usually very eye-catching. As a boy group, recently I’m really into Stray Kids. Their choreography is really good, especially “District 9”, it’s really intense and really hard. We’ve taught “Hellevator” which is also a really intense dance.
A: They choreograph a lot of [their dances] themselves and I think that’s just so impressive because they’re so good. They’re really complex and really intricate.
Q: What groups or artists, in your opinion, have the hardest choreography to learn?
A: NCT’s so hard. [There’s] so many textures in their dance moves. They’re really good dancers. Their dances are very hard, [and] some of their moves are unique, so they’re hard to do or imitate to make it look right, to have the same feel as them, so in that way it’s difficult. For HARU, our goal is to dance just like the idols themselves, maybe even better. Idols obviously sing and dance at the same time so that also takes away from their dancing skills because they have to manage their singing and breathing while they’re performing. Since we only dance, we try to have more power and energy in our movement, and emphasize certain textures.
A: The thing is with NCT is that they have a lot of their own feel so when we try to imitate them it’s not the same, and on top of that their choreography is really difficult. In “Cherry Bomb” there’s a lot of moves that are just odd. They’re just not typical moves so trying to copy them feels weird. The obvious answer [to this question] is BTS because they’re choreography is difficult, but I think BTS has more typical moves, more moves that you would see in regular hip hop choreography, which a lot of us have background in so it’s not too difficult. But then NCT is completely different. “Chain” was very strange, like avant-garde K-Pop choreography.
Q: How do you all as a collective, decide on which dances you are going to cover?
A: We have an executive board of seven members and we all have different roles but for certain decisions on the club we discuss together. For songs, we usually come up with a list and watch all the choreos together.
A: A lot of our members want to popular songs, but it’s just not like a good thing for our group because maybe it wouldn’t fit our group, maybe the textures are too much, so we try to pick three songs that we think our group would be able to do but is still challenging, so we want something that isn’t too easy but not too hard. And from those three songs we have a vote.
A: We want to make sure we can do our best performing this song. Instead of just choosing a random one that may be too easy or too hard, we might not feel good. Too easy it’s fine, but some people want to challenge themselves and do more complicated choreo.
Q: How long does it take for you all to prep and film a cover video?
A: It depends. We have semester dances that we choose as a board and then we vote on. We meet up only once a week for those, so those will typically take a few weeks, maybe a month. Some dances we do in like two days. We recently covered [LOONA] YYXY’s “Love Forever” and we met up twice, then filmed it the next day with outfits and everything. It really depends on the level of how difficult the dance is, who’s in it, how many people in it. There were only four people in yyxy so it was a lot easier to clean everyone and meet up.
A: Everyone’s schedule is different. The smaller the group is the easier it is to find time to meet up, while bigger groups is hard because there’s too many people.
A: So like “Hellevator” we could only have once a week because it was nine people.
Q: If you could collaborate with any K-Pop group or artist, who would it be?
A: I would want to collaborate with Stray Kids. I think [they] are really challenging and i think it’d be a good opportunity to learn from them rather than just doing the choreography. I just really like Stray Kids. Their choreography is really complex and I also think it’s really cool when girls do boy choreography, I think it looks very good and I think it’s even more impressive because there’s a lot of power that goes into it.
A: Either Stray Kids or Red Velvet because I’m their fan, but also I really like their choreo. [Both] are exciting. Whoever choreographs them is really good. I like their [music] style so it’s exciting for me to dance to songs I like.
A: For HARU as a whole I think it would be best for us to collab with someone like ASTRO. As a group our image is very fun and we fit very happy, very cute dances, but ASTRO still has power. So it would really fit us to cover something like “Baby” that’s very fun and cute and upbeat but still good, clean and sharp dancing.
Q: Aside from K-Pop artists, are there any other dance crews or artists that you would like to collaborate with?
A: Ariana Grande, I like her. If Fifth Harmony was still a thing I think that would be really cool. Groups like those understand collaborating. When you’re in a group it’s a very different dynamic.
A: For choreographers, I really like Aya Sato and Bambi, they’re from Japan. We don’t really know that many western artists, we’re pretty deep into K-Pop.
Q: Last question, are there any updates, information or future plans that you would like to tell readers to look forward to in the coming future?
A: We’ll be putting out more covers during the summer. We’ll also be starting to prepare for our fall showcase in November, but it will be livestreamed and it’s a free event [at Rutgers]! We’ll be at Otakon and dance K-Pop here and there, probably do a flash mob there.
Be sure to follow HARU Dance on social media and keep up with their newest releases!