Earlier this month, KpopStarz was able to pick through the mind of Aimee Lee Lucas, renown choreographer to K-Pop stars such as BIG BANG, 2NE1, SE7EN. It was a bright Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, and Aimee just finished teaching her first-ever M.V.P. dance class. M.V.P is a series of dance sessions where Aimee teaches those interested steps to current Kpop hits.
Aimee first started as an assistant choreographer for Uhm Jung Hwa which was then her ticket to getting to work as a choreographer for YG. Not only that, Aimee also was fortunate to star in some music videos. She's most remembered as Taeyang's love interest in the most talked about "Sinner" music video. She also starred in several other music videos with G-Dragon and SE7EN, for "My Girl", "Breathe" and "Them Girls". Aimee has also dabbled on concert production having been responsible for staging G-Dragon's first solo concert, "Heart Breaker". Her very strong resume in Kpop choreography quite impresses and having worked with the stars we love the most she says "All the artists are hard workers. When they aren't performing they are training throughout the day. They take singing, dance, fitness classes and then some. They are definitely committed to their craft and it's inspiring."
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Now, we probed Aimee for some technical details regarding Kpop choreography. Particularly, she was asked what she thought was the DNA or the defining element of Kpop choreography. And surprisingly, she says that "What is necessary in all K-pop choreography is a catchy chorus, just like the lyrics. Everyone identifies choruses to the corresponding song when it's easy, silly, sexy, or fun to do." As an example, she points to Psy's recent global breakthrough hit, "Like Gangnam Style! Anyone who's seen the music video knows the saddle gallop." True enough and we think that aspiring Kpop artists who would like to breakthrough globally should heed Aimee's tip.
With now a lot of Kpop dancing and singing acts in the scene, Aimee Lee Lucas shares that creating original choreography can be challenging at times. Being American and a non-Korean speaker, she honestly said that understanding the language is good. Although for most of the time, she may depend on the music video while reading translated English lyrics. However, as a dancer her heart is with the beat, so "In the end," she says lyrics may help but "I go with the beat and how the music makes me feel."
Sharing her love of dance attracts quite a crowd in Southern California. So, Aimee Lee Lucas opens up about her motivation for starting M.V.P. She says the idea hit her after her quick stint as the creative director for MNET's Gangnam Style Flashmob. Reminiscing her epiphany, she shared "It felt so good to teach choreography to hundreds of people. It was especially moving to see how many fans were in the Los Angeles area. When the flash mob was over I wanted to do it all over again so I decided to create M.V.P. (Music Video Party) K-pop dance classes. It not only felt right, it makes me happy to teach Kpop fans because I know how much they love the music and the artists. You just don't get that anywhere else."
Her dreams for M.V.P doesn't stop there. Someday she hopes for it to expand, "I have exciting plans for the future like inviting guest choreographers who have worked with Kpop artists, having my class viewed by YG Entertainment and the respective artists, and bringing this class to Kpop fans in other states. After witnessing how much fun everyone had at my first class it would be a dream to teach these classes internationally."
In the words of even the attendees who came to her first class, Aimee Lee Lucas and her new dance movement is bound for success. Attendees commented, "I loved the class very much. The atmosphere was amazing, Aimee Lee is an amazing choreographer and everyone was friendly and fun.'" and "I had a blast in Aimee's class. I loved the environment and how Aimee was so interactive with everyone. She really made all of us feel comfortable!" These comments manifest how personal Aimee tailors her sessions, and how this can be inspiring in itself for attendees.
When asked to give advice to all aspiring dancers, Kpop or not, Aimee Lee Lucas had these words of wisdom, "Be open to constructive criticism, explore other style of dance, continue mastering your craft, and stay hungry to learn. My personal motto: Don't wait for opportunities, create them."
Writer: Dorothy Advincula | Photographer: Mark Francis Photography