K-pop dance studio thrives in Manhattan

January 28, 2015
I Love Dance academy in Manhattan

I Love Dance academy in Manhattan

By Kim So-young

Inside a dance studio near Times Square in Manhattan, about 30 students danced in sync to a K-pop tune.

With the exception of a few mistakes and missed rhythms, the group — led by I Love Dance Director Choi Moon-joo — looked ready to be on stage.

Choi has been teaching K-pop dance moves to a diverse set of eager students for seven years now. She originally hails from South Korea, which she left to pursue industrial design in America.

But she liked to dance, and she liked to teach it. The dance academy was set up in 2006 for beginners interested in learning hip-hop moves.

“I had no experience in dancing and had only learned it for a year, so when I promoted the academy on information websites for Koreans, I didn’t have many students,” Choi said.

That soon changed with the coming of Hallyu. When a student came looking to learn K-pop idol dance moves in 2009, I Love Dance set up a K-pop dance class.

I Love Dance Director Choi Moon-joo

I Love Dance Director Choi Moon-joo

Wonder Girls’ “Tell Me” was the craze back then. As word spread, the students came. Now, 90 percent of her dance classes — attended by about 100 students each month — are comprised of non-Koreans, Choi said.

Students vary in age, from 14-year-old middle school students to working people in their 30s. Choi, who started teaching by herself, has expanded her instructor staff by seven.

I Love Dance hosts an annual K-pop showcase in which students perform. The events attract upwards of 500 people in a celebration of dance and K-pop, she said.

A video of I Love Dance students performing 2NE1′s “I Am the Best” has garnered more than 673,000 views on YouTube.

She said requests have been coming in from Queens, New Jersey and Long Island to open K-pop dance classes. Her goal is to expand I Love Dance into more regions, if possible.

Choi said her students learn about Korean language, food and culture through K-pop dance.

“No one taught them, but the students who learn K-pop dance from me all greet me hello in Korean,” she said. “Half my students are taking Korean language classes and watching Korean dramas or variety shows.”


  1. Pingback: K-Pop Dance Classes Promote Korean Culture

  2. NYTSC

    September 12, 2017 at 4:28 PM

    We are looking for a K pop instructor to teach k pop moves to middle school students.

  3. Crystalsimpkins

    June 27, 2018 at 9:39 AM

    I would love to join y’all I love dance I would love to learn more