One year on and the LoKos (London Kpop Dance workshop) are better than ever and are continuing to help the UK to learn all the best Kpop dance moves. It’s been an amazing year for them – they’ve had masterclasses with SM Ent dancers, done public performances, hosted some hilarious workshops, and just generally been pretty awesome all over. So what are their thoughts on the past year and their time as part of the LoKos so far? We gave them some hard hitting and important (or not) questions! Mama Tammy, Caroline, Dea and Izzy gave us their answers.
1. One year on! How does it feel?
Tammy: Unreal. In a year, I have become a teacher, a team leader and a “Mama”. I never expected to expected to experience a different kind of happiness. After our birthday workshop and receiving messages from the people that attended, made me realise that maybe our workshops aren’t just a dance class. We’ve met so many people that have become our friends (including the Korean Class Massive ladies!), we see the students make friends, we get people that wouldn’t think of dancing/performing in front of people get up and dance, the list could go on but all just from our workshops. I could just stand there and watch the attendees really wanting to learn and enjoy themselves all day.
Caroline: Feels amazing! I can’t believe it’s been a year – it’s gone so quickly!
Izzy: It feels almost surreal I guess. When I first joined the group, I was looking for a family and a place to belong to – and that’s just what I got!
Dea: It’s strange actually, I never really had any major expectations when I joined the LoKos. I just thought it would be something fun to do with my time, but ended up meeting some amazing people…and they got to meet the amazing me. That was a joke by the way… Haha.
Izzy: I never thought how the LoKos would be like a year later. I always took things as it came along. But looking back on the year, we’ve grown in ways that I did not expect us to. Now, for us to own our own studio!
Dea: Back then I didnt really think if the LoKos a year from now! There were a lot of ideas as to what else the LoKos could bring to people, most of which we haven’t done! They are just things we think of doing. But with that I think it’s amazing that a year later people even still appreciate what we do and enjoy coming to our workshops and people are still just only finding out about it! I didn’t really have any expectations for success either! But when students return to our classes and we recognise them improving, opening up and meeting new people and even telling us that our workshops give them confidence…we’ve already succeeded. :)
3. What are your plans for the future?
Tammy: Future plans… a lot…!!! The girls know I always have plans and ideas running around in my head but I never reveal them until l have thought them through.. or until the idea bothers me and I need other opinions. Plans for the workshop… classes somewhere else aside from London maybe? I want to reach out to Kpop fans that can’t make it down to London but want to join our classes. Plans for Team LoKo… I really want our team’s dancing skills to develop and I think learning from other dancers is the best way so maybe some future collaborations. Aside from that, I’ll keep the rest in my head for now, hehe!
Caroline: To just keep on as we are. I think we are making really good progress.
Izzy: To continue spreading the K-Pop love, perform more and dance more covers!
Dea: God knows, hahah. I’m not much of a future thinking person. I’d just hope we can still have fun in future, if it’s not fun, it’s not worth it!
Tammy: Of course we are, but the problem we have is money. We purposely make our classes cheap to fit the “Kpop fan demographic”. The majority are young students that rely on permission and allowance from the parents. Any profit that is made goes straight back into the fund for the workshops which include studio time, Kpop merchandise we buy to give away to our attendees and our team uniforms. Having a masterclass would mean budgeting for travel, accomodation, food and talent fee. We can do it, but I don’t want our regular classes to suffer without a budget.
Caroline: Of course!! I’d love to host more! It wouldn’t just be a great privilege for us LoKos but for all the UK Kpop fans that want to learn dances. To have the experience to learn from the best aren’t ones that come so often, so to host some for our students would be brilliant.
Izzy: Definitely. Someone please bring pros to London.
Dea: Yes, yes I am.
Tammy: Oh too many to list!! An obvious choice of mine would be Shaun Evaristo. I’ve been following his dancing career even before he started working with YG just from watching youtube videos. I know many people may say Big Bang don’t do obvious, complicated cheoregraphy unlike other Kpop idols, but I anticipate every comeback stage and dance practice video because Shaun’s details and concepts in choreography are so clever and effective. For example, Big Bang’s Somebody to Love, every member and every back up dancer is used to move as one unit and the use of the back up dancers’ hands as mic stands for the boys is a fun idea. Also, their stage for Love Song, it was choreographed in such a way that it allows camera tricks, to show each member of Big Bang come out of nowhere, every inch of a stage is untilised. Another choreographer would be whoever works with Infinite. Infinite’s precision is so on point, some people may think that their precision is overrated and yes in other peoples’ opinion there are groups that may have better dance skills but precision like that stems from the discipline of the teacher. I think I would learn so much from someone like that. Lastly, would be the S**tkingz. Again, another group that I have been following before Kpop entered my life! Their muscialilty is awesome, there is no beat, no tick, no ping wasted in their choreography – EXO History, enough said!
Caroline: I’d definitely love to get Baek Koo Young over again, he had a really good sense of humour but was also really patient and encouraging, a real pro. The students loved him as well and because it was the first KPop masterclass of it’s kind I really think that heightened the experience for everyone. When we went to Paris we were taught by Hyung Jun – also known as LJ – who works with Koo Young. I’d love to get him over too; he’s absolutely adorable! Other than those two, I’m happy to bring anyone over! Particularly Jaewon, Rino Nakasone, Greg Hwang, Shaun Evaristo, Lyle Beninga…I don’t mind, so long as they’re legit!! I think it would be too optimistic for us to think that we can get everyone over but even if it’s just one or two, I would be absolutely thrilled.
Izzy: Personally, it would be Infinite’s choreographer.
Dea: I’m not so much an avid follower of choreographers but i’d go with the Sh!tkingz. They’re incredible!
6. Your dream songs to teach?
Tammy: Again, this requires a list! haha! I guess this is the first time I can say this publicly… I really like APink *runs and hides* >.< The team know I tend to lean towards hip hoppy, more street-ish, “guy” choreography, but I’ve been itching to teach an APink song only because they really remind me of the songs I would listen to growing up and the dances are simple but fun. I might describe them as happy pop songs with sprinkles, not corny but flowery, feel good songs. I would also like to teach a whole class a more performance type choreography like 2NE1 Go Away. Rather than step by step, it would be more like a moving picture. I think that would be epic!
Caroline: I’d love to teach TVXQ’s “Rising Sun” – it was my first KPop song and the choreography is just so good.
Izzy: This list is TOO long! At the moment, I would love to teach EvoL’s Magnet, or BAP’s Crash. No particular reason, its just catchy! The new rookies are brilliant.
Dea: Dream songs…I dont really have any dream songs just ones that would be fun for everyone! Such as…PONPONPON! I know its J-pop but it’s just so necessary. And maybe just maybe, one day, far into the forseeable future… Two Moons. (Exoough).
7. You had your first public performance recently at the all age Kpop party, will we be seeing many more public performances?
Tammy: I’d like to think so. If there is an opportunity… why not!
Caroline: Let’s hope so!
Izzy: I wasn’t around for this performance, so I do hope there are many more to come!
Dea: If people ask us then yes! It’s something we havent ever done before, especially with nine of us! It was amazing to perform, the weeks and hours of effort we put into it made us feel awesome after we performed. It’s nice to have a team to share that feeling with!
Tammy: When we started to practice for the Kpop Party, I called the KCCUK and asked whether we could perform at the Thames Festival. I didn’t really hear anything back but I told the girls during practice one day that the aim was to perform at the festival. The 2nd Kpop Contest was our opportunity right there and we became one of the finalists, so even though we didn’t place, I guess you can say it was a dream come true. As soon as we stepped on that stage, all my nerves left my body and half way through the performance the glimpses I could get of the others told me that we were doing well and watching the videos of the performance were just evidence that I was right. It was only until we got off the stage that it sunk it that we actually performed on stage, in front of the Tate Modern, on the riverside at one of the biggest festivals in London.
Caroline: It was a great experience. After leaving my dance school in February 2012, I wasn’t sure if I’d actually get to be on a proper stage ever again so it was great to be back on there and to see the crowd really enjoying themselves. We didn’t have a lot of rehearsal time for our performance either so there were some nerves amongst some members and I was also really, really ill, but as soon as we got on that stage I think we smashed it.
Izzy: Being away, I can’t answer this. But if I were there, I’m sure the feeling would have been exhilarating.
Dea: That was awesome but weird. A year ago we would practice in Tammy’s living room for our covers and a year later we’re performing on a stage with a massive screen displaying us! It was a great way to mark our 1 year anniversary! An amazing feeling.
Tammy: All the ‘B’s! Big Bang, B.A.P and Beast! Their energy on stage is crazy! Some of the best advice that I have ever received is to relax and feel the music. Aside from doing the actual choreography, they are idol groups that vibe off each other, feel the music and just perform.
Caroline: Oh my God, TVXQ for sure because they’re my favourite! Exo of course, because it’s Exo, although I’d look rubbish next to Kai!! Super Junior too, because they have so much fun on stage.
Dea: I don’t know how to answer..um EXOOUGGH. That would be crazy! Also SHINee or Teen Top!
Dea: I know this directed at Tammy but 파이 좋아.
Caroline: LoKos ARE my bunnies!
12. Dea – You are all my women. Fact.
KCM: Haha. Woodland creatures, right? :P So like Autumn!
Izzy: A lot of practice. I thank my K-Pop group leader from back home for consistently pushing us to dance in them. After that, I practiced a lot by myself. And, yes, the clubbing does help balance too!
14. Anything else you want to mention?
Tammy: From the original members of LoKo, I’m the only one with no training but look where I am now. I thought liking Kpop just meant I became a Kpop fan but Kpop, the workshops attendees, my team and everyone who has supported us have made me realise that maybe I shouldn’t feel embarrassed about my dreams and anything is truly possible if your love and passion drives you. So if I can do it… anyone can!
Dea: A lot of our success comes from our awesome students and the lovely people that support us such as the Korean Class Massive girls! Thank you for your avid interest in our shenanigans and the many many hours you’ve spent with us! We love you guys :)
We know that the next year will be another brilliant year for the LoKos, and every year after that! All the hard work and effort they’ve put in has really paid off, and they truly deserve all the success they’ve experienced. Here’s to the future ladies! MASSIVE LoKos 4eva! :P
P.S Don’t forget to check out the LoKos’ upcoming workshop on the 23rd September! All details here!