Dancing in Seoul (Guest post)

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This guest post comes to you courtesy of Dee Mason, a freelance travel writer.

This guest post comes to you courtesy of Dee Mason, a freelance travel writer.

Seoul, South Korea is home to an amazing dance community. From ballet, to contemporary, to hip hop, and everything in between, the number of dance classes available in the city and the quality of the training has positioned Seoul as one of the best cities for dancers in Asia. As a foreigner, it can be a little bit daunting to take class in a foreign language, but there are a number of studios and individual teachers that offer excellent classes in both Korean and English, as well as a number of foreign teachers who have created dance programs of their own. Keep in mind, throughout Asia, it is customary to work at something until a level of perfection is achieved. This idea is carried through to how South Koreans approach their dance training. Classes are serious, focused, and approached with a sense of purpose that may seem a little bit single-minded to many foreigners. The idea of doing something halfway does not exist, so if a Korean friend says that they take ballet class, chances are, they have been taking class for a number of years, and they dance beautifully.

Due to the popularity of K-Pop, hip hop, jazz, and commercial dance classes are very popular in South Korea currently, and there are a number of very good studios that offer daily instruction in commercial dance, as well as host guest artists from around the world. Ballet and contemporary dance have long been mainstays of the Korean dance scene as well, and most studios offer a mixture of both classical styles and commercial dance. Below is a list of a few studios that offer a wide range of classes with great instructors.

PAS Dance Studio
PAS Dance Studio recently moved from the Hongdae area to Sinchon, and has been renamed Seoul Tanz Station. A very popular school for contemporary and ballet training with its own resident modern dance company, the studio also offers high quality classes in hip-hop and jazz, and sponsors a very well-attended end of the year concert series. Visit
www.seoultanzstation.com for more information.

JK Studios
JK Studios opened a few years ago, and offers classes in hip-hop, jazz, kpop, pole dance, zumba, ballet, and belly dance. The studio is open from 10 to midnight and classes are made up of a mixture of Koreans and foreigners. Visit www.jkpole.com for schedule information.

Hongdae Dance Academy
In the heart of Hongdae there is a dance studio tucked away on the 2nd floor of a commercial building above a nightclub and a convenience store. Hongdae Dance Academy offers nightly classes in ballet, contemporary dance, jazz, and hip-hop, and many of the instructors are bilingual. The ballet training is especially strong at the studio. It does not have a dedicated website, but is a short walk from Sangsu Station, Exit 1.

Fumi Symonds
Fumi Symonds is a professional dancer who splits her time between Seoul and Seattle. She has dance companies in both cities and teaches modern and contemporary dance classes at Sungkyunkwan University, as well as yoga at a number of studios around Seoul. For people interested in partner dance classes, such as tango or salsa, there are also a number of options. The Argentine Tango and Salsa communities in South Korea are considered the best in Asia, based on the level of instruction, the ability of the dancers, and the size of the dance communities.

KISS
For anything related to Salsa, KISS, the Korea International Salsa Social website is your ticket to the salsa community in Seoul. The website features information about classes, workshops, upcoming competitions and festivals, as well as information on rueda, kizomba, and other Latin styles.

El Tango Café and El Bulin
El Tango Café is a tango studio in Seoul is known for its slightly funkier vibe and younger crowd. The staff is bilingual and the studio offers excellent classes every day of the week along with milongas multiple times during the week. El Bulin Tango Studio is the home of the Seoul Tango Festival. A more traditional studio, classes are offered three times per week at El Bulin and there is a popular milonga on Wednesday evenings, as well a series of practicas. Visit www.eltango.kr and www.elbulin.co.kr for more information.

Finally, those dancers interested in taking one of many cultural world cruises through dance Seoul offers a number of enjoyable ethnic dance classes as well.

Belly Dance
Belly dance is especially popular with a number of very good instructors based in Seoul currently. Belynda Azhaar teaches a very popular belly dancing class. It is best to check her website for current schedule information as she is a sought after performer and often travels. Visit www.azhaardance.com for more information. For information about other instructors visit www.facebook.com/belly.dance.korea.

Flamenco
Flamenco dance is also quite popular in Seoul. The Korea Flamenco Company offers classes and performs extensively throughout Asia. Visit cafe.daum.net/KoreaFlamencoCompany for more information.

No matter what type of dance you are interested in studying, there really is something for everyone. Studios are tucked away in back streets and above offices all over the city, so use this list as a springboard, but do some exploring as well. You are certain to find a great dance home during your time in Seoul.

CISK note / disclaimer: Chris in South Korea does not charge money for, or make money from, guest posts; the intention is to provide helpful information from knowledgeable people in different fields.

 

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe – 2011
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