KCON LA 2018 Exclusive Interview: Deep Dive with 1MILLION Dance Studio
Interviewed By J.Ventinilla
Photographed, Translated, and Written By Julia Hur
Recently reaching 10 million subscribers on YouTube, 1MILLION Dance Studio has been making large strides in the dance community. All the way from South Korea, six of their top dancers have come to KCON LA 2018 to greet fans and hold a few workshops. The Kraze had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Mina Myong, Junsun Yoo, Tina Boo, Isabelle, Koosung Jung, and Minyoung Park and get a deeper look into their passion for dance and choreography.
Q: For our readers, can you please introduce yourself?
Mina: Hello, we’re from 1MILLION Dance Studio. 1MILLION is an entertainment company in Korea for choreographers and dancers.
Junsun: It’s a fun place!
Q: What's a day in the life of a choreographer/dancer like?
Koosung: Other than dancing, I eat, sleep, and do sports or any other hobbies of mine and spend a normal day like all other people.
Q: How has YouTube helped in making you grow to be one of the most well-known dance studios in the world?
Junsun: First of all, there’s a cool plaque at the studio. (It’s currently gold, right?) I think it’s going to change to diamond soon but the gold makes it really cool. Everyone who comes [to the studio] looks at [the plaque] and expresses their amazement by making [a remark] with a swaggy vibe. Also, if not for YouTube, we would have not been able to interact with [our fans]. I really like how it did the job of reaching out to more people. It helped us grow worldwide and I think YouTube played a huge role in spreading our name.
Q: What are your most memorable dance experiences?
Tina: The most memorable experience was choreographing for K-Pop artists and performing with them on stage. I recently worked with Eric Nam.
Q: What goals do you wish to accomplish or have already accomplished before the year ends?
Minyoung: One thing I wish to accomplish is to become more well-known and famous.
Q: When did you start dancing, and why?
Mina: In middle school, my mom teased me that I couldn’t dance well. My sister, who did Korean traditional dance, was dancing and next to her, the popular belly dance was on TV. My mom told me to try it, and she teased me for not being good at it. After that, I spent one week practicing that dance. Then, I joined a dance club at school, since I normally liked to sing and dance. Later, I came to like dancing more so I became a dancer.
Q: Are there any dance styles/eras/choreographers that influence you the most?
Isabelle: I think it always changes depending on my mood, depending on what style I want to do. So I guess these days I’m really into Melvin Timtim and I guess a lot of people around the table too are really interested in his choreo. Melvin Timtim for hip-hop, and/or something more, I guess, groovy or flowy. I have this brother of mine in Brotherhood in Canada, and his name is Kelvin Tu and he’s really smooth. So I guess it’s more from the people around me; I get inspired by everyone around the table. A lot by Junsun because I take a lot of his classes, by Mina too because I’ve been training with her for a long time. So I guess it changes depending what I’m into.
Q: How long does it take you to learn the choreography to one song?
Koosung: I’m pretty good at memorizing choreography, so I don’t get stressed about that.
Q: How long does it take you to create choreography for a song?
Junsun: It differs based on each song, but if I manage to choreograph quickly, I can do it in one to two hours. If the song is a bit hard or I want to create a better choreo, it takes around a few weeks working on that one dance. I don’t think there’s a set frame, though; it’s not like a choreography has to be done in three hours. I think it depends on what you want to express in each song.
Mina: I think this applies to all choreographers.
Q: Who do you consider to be your dance inspiration?
Tina: I think a lot about my inner self. The lyrics, mood, emotion, or beats of the song do inspire me but when I choreograph, I think of the song at a deeper level.
Q: What inspires your choreography?
Minyoung: Through YouTube videos, I watch a lot of other choreographers and their styles of dance. Another [inspiration] I get is from passers-by.
Q: If you could choreograph for any artist (K-Pop and International artists), who would it be and why?
Mina: There are two artists: one is Rihanna and the other is Tinashe. Rihanna isn’t a natural dancer, but I really like her musical talents and her performance on stage. I consider them to be very cool. Plus, I’ve choreographed to Rihanna’s songs a lot. Tinashe is an artist who is extremely good at the style of dance that I choreograph, so I think if we do have a collaboration, we would have good chemistry. I’ve worked with a lot of Korean artists before, so I would like to work with anyone whenever I get the opportunity to do so.
Q: How do you decide on the music that you choose to choreograph and dance for?
Isabelle: I don’t think I really decide, I think the music decides what I’m gonna do because sometimes you want to do a song and really like the song, but there’s like nothing that’s coming out from your mind. So, I guess sometimes when you’re short on time too, because we have to do classes, you just go with what flows the best [and] what comes the easiest at that time.
Q: What types of songs do you enjoy creating choreography for?
Koosung: I like light hip-hop. Although I like deep hip-hop as well, I enjoy choreographing to a brighter hip-hop song that a lot of people enjoy listening to.
Q: You dance to songs from all over the world, how do you come across music from other countries?
Junsun: I first heard pop songs coincidentally on TV and started choreographing to those since they gave off a different feeling from K-Pop songs. Similarly, I coincidentally come across songs from other countries and start dancing to them. For example, I really liked this song and had a fun time working on the choreo only to find out that this song was from Europe. Some dancers may know the origin of a certain song when working on it, but in my case, I don’t really know. I usually find out after I finish choreographing, which happens pretty often.
Q: What do you hope to achieve through dancing (biggest goal through dancing)?
Tina: In the long shot, I want to be satisfied with myself. I tend to not be pleased [with myself], so I wish to reach the level of self-satisfaction.
Q: What tips would you give to an aspiring dancer?
Junsun: To say it simply, just enjoy dancing. I think that since you’ve started dancing because you like using your body to move, you need [to] enjoy every step of dancing, even the challenges. The stress you may get from thinking that you are lacking or working hard to improve has to become a part of the enjoyable side of dance. So, in simple terms, I wish you can dance with fun and not feel burdened. After dancing to a choreography you create, you have to enjoy that moment. Although you may express emotions like sadness during the song, you have to be able to dance happily and enjoy the dance. Then you will naturally improve as a dancer.
Q: Often there are dances that go viral on the internet. Do you like to follow that trend and incorporate it into your choreography or do you think it does not go well with your personal style of dance?
Minyoung: It slightly depends on what type of song I choreograph to. If it goes well with the song I include it, but if the moves don't fit the style, I don't tend to use them.
Q: What are some challenges you face when creating choreography? How do you overcome these challenges?
Mina: I just don’t choreograph. It’s a waste of time and stressful to spend all that effort on something that you won’t get a final product for. I used to do that when I was young, but I think it’s not really the best way. Even when I couldn’t think of a choreo, I used to push myself to dance because of the responsibility I had. Now, I just go home if I can’t think of a choreography. I refresh myself by watching movies, reading books, and eating delicious food like everyone else. I relieve my stress through multiple methods and then when I listen to the song again, I’m able to interpret it in a different way. So, I personally think that stopping and resting for a bit is a way to overcome a challenge.
Q: What do you do in your spare time when you are not dancing?
Isabelle: I’m quite boring, to be honest. Like, it’s really different what I used to do in Canada and back in Korea. In Korea, I go eat; if not, I’m probably at the studio everyday, trying to choreograph or just practicing. But I would say even if I’m back home, I’m just like constantly listening to music and trying to move. I don’t really differentiate when I’m actually working and when I’m not working [because] I feel like that’s the only thing I’m doing. I like to cook, too, but I don’t get the time.
Q: What are some upcoming projects, if you can speak about it, that you would like to tell your fans and viewers?
Mina: This year, we did a 1MILLION Superweek in China, a project where we have three different stations to do a big workshop. We’re heading to Shanghai in October, and around 12 instructors are going to teach. It’s the first time that so many choreographers are teaching. For me, I started a YouTube channel and I think a lot of new projects and contents are going to continually be uploaded. For 1MILLION as a whole, we just hit 10 million [on YouTube] and as a result, we’re getting more and more busy. I think you can look forward to changes in term of our image. A lot of new choreographers have been joining us, so currently, there’s a discussion in how each of their individual image-making is going to take place.
Junsun: That’s true. I believe our quality is going to improve overall with new changes taking place. Now everyone is going to improve in terms of their individual character and especially their dance style since it is very valuable [to a dancer]. I’m still greedy for dance, and I’m going to work hard to show better performances and choreographies. Also, we’re often appearing in not only on media like YouTube but also in Korean variety shows.
Mina: Yes, we’ve been filming shows and challenging ourselves to try new things. I hope the public will look forward to our future endeavors.
Junsun: In a different perspective, I feel like some would receive a new feeling from seeing us dancers more in their daily lives.
On behalf of The Kraze Magazine, we thank the members of 1MILLION Dance Studio for taking the time to sit down and have this interview with us. Please continue to support 1MILLION Dance Studio by subscribing to their YouTube channel as well as following them on their other social media.