Author: Monique Lark

4 November 2016


Last weekend I had the honour of being a part of Utopia Entertainment’s latest Kpop adventure, which involved two popular dancers/choreographers Mina Myoung and Sori Na from 1Million Dance Studios. The Hallyu Wave has been making ground in all areas across the world and not just with idols and their music. The dancing and choreography that Kpop idols are well known for has been making a huge impact with fans everywhere and Australia is no different. Throughout the country countless dancers and crews have been creating and learning dances to some of their favourite Kpop tracks and itching to show their skills. Utopia Entertainment tapped into this and decided to bring over two of the hottest dancers in Kpop to Brisbane to hold a variety of dance workshops and a showcase displaying the local dance talent.

The girls held dance workshops on 22nd and 23rd of October, where they showed lucky ticket holders some of their moves. Now as a fan girl being taught dance by one of your idols is the most amazing experience and haven spoken to a few of those who participated in the workshops they were speechless. They felt blessed to be able to show their own skills to the girls as well as learn from them, which they thought would never become a possibility. 

My role in the whole affair was that I was offered a judging position on the panel for the showcase. I was joined by Mina and Sori, as well as Josh who is a member of popular Aussie dance crew AYOB. The showcase was held at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Fortitude Valley. Upon arriving at the venue there was already a long line of people waiting for entry to the event. Utopia Entertainment staff were busy bustling around making sure everything was perfect. Alynna was hosting the event and she was the perfect MC! She brought the right amount of humour and didn’t take an over the top approach. She made the showcase flow easily and made the contestants feel at ease when questioning them. 

Now the showcase began with Paradise Crew performing dance routines from EXO and BLACKPINK. These girls know how to perform and engage an audience with their dynamic stage presence. It was a great start to the event. Next it was followed by the performances of the four solo acts that had gotten through the preliminary rounds to compete for a place in the showcase and win a chance to perform with Mina and Sori. The first act was Maddison James who set a high bar as the first to perform. Her body and movements were sensual and concise making it seem effortless. A great performance Maddison! Glenn Balbarais followed Maddison, and definitely demonstrated his experience in dance with confidence and attitude. His routine had fluid movement that worked well with the mood and beat of the music.

The next solo act was Alice Chang. This young girl had never performed previously yet the attitude and presence she displayed was truly a sight to see. I couldn’t take my eyes off her and was impressed by the whole package she delivered. She even included choreography from Lay’s latest song what U need, which Sori Na had danced to. Alice’s personality shone through which really brought the piece to life. Mundsan Yu Hoi was the last of the four solo acts and it was clear he had a following of fans present. The man delivered on all counts in terms of personality, stage presence and skills. It was evident that he was someone who had been dancing for a long time and knew how well his body moved. It was mesmerising to watch and he brought humour into his routine which definitely gave it that little extra.

After the solo acts, came the crews! 0Project was the first crew to hit the stage and these young dancers brought their youth to their routine. They all gave great energy into their performance and worked well as a unit. Pink City Fusion was the duo act that followed and the fact that they had only been working together for a short time was unnoticeable as their synchronicity was amazing. Their routine was fresh and showcased their raw and young talent brilliantly.  Street Grove was an act I had seen previously at other events, yet they brought a whole new level of performance for the showcase. It was amazing to see how far they had come as a crew. Their energy was amazing and it was great to see them enjoying their own performance as much as the audience. Their routine was clever and well put together, with some awesome moves. The last crew to perform was Avant Garde, a crew solely of young males, ranging in age. These boys gave the audience a powerful routine that pumped up the crowd. They were like a well-oiled machine that exuded attitude and cheekiness. It was a solid performance that even added in a few gimmicks that involved the judges. 

After all the acts had performed the MC got the audience to pick a crowd favourite for both categories: Mundsan (Solo) and Street Groove (Crew). There was a small intermission with performance by Pepero, a dance crew that won a Kpop Cover dance contest which took them to Korea. They executed a perfect cover of Boombayah from BLACKPINK and showcased why they were taken to the final rounds in Korea. Mina Myoung was the next performer and demonstrated why she was a fan favourite and famous dancer. Her confidence and attitude is on a whole another level and every movement seems effortless. The final four acts were then announced: Alice (Solo), Mundsan (Solo), Street Groove (Crew), and Avant Garde (Crew).

Before the four final acts had to compete for the winning spots, a Q&A was held with Mina and Sori, allowing fans to ask their questions. The girls were funny and spoke of their own experiences in the industry. They delivered solid advice to those who wish to follow in their footsteps and make dancing their career. Their responses demonstrated their passion for what they did and how much time, effort and thought goes into their choreography, lessons and own skills. Mina even let us peek into her makeup bag to see what goes into making her look so gorgeous! The final acts were given a set routine by Mina that they had to perform and each one delivered in their own way. It made our decision making process extremely hard!

Choosing a winner was difficult as everyone has put in so much effort and displayed incredible talent, however it was Alice Chang and Avant Garde that really caught our attention. Alice was someone who dominated with her charisma and stage presence, and the fact that it was the first time performing was feat all in its own. Avant Garde were a whole different story, the instant they began each of their performances everyone’s eyes drew straight to them and you couldn’t stop watching. It is clear that these boys exude talent and have a bright future ahead of them, which I cannot wait to see. The two lucky winners were given ribbons and the chance to be in a dance video with Sori and Mina! I am eager to see what amazing choreography the guys deliver in the video.

The event closed with fans being able to take pictures with Mina and Sori. Regardless of Sori having an injury, which prevented her from dancing, it was clear that fans had an amazing time. I, myself had a ball and although I may lack in the dancing department, it was an fantastic experience to watch some outstanding performances by people who are passionate about dance.

Thank you Utopia Entertainment, we look forward to your next adventure!