Popcorn Dance Club unites range of cultures



While solely focusing on K-pop for their music, Popcorn Dance Club invites a wide range of people and cultural backgrounds to their group. Together, club members connect and learn about Korean culture.

The Popcorn Dance Club members get into formation, each going to their respective positions on stage. The popular K-pop song “Uh-Oh” by (G) I-DLE blasts from the speakers. Immediately, arms are thrusted up in the air and hair tosses around.

Led by sophomore Emerson Lin, the Popcorn Dance Club meets in Dance Studio 2 every Monday and Thursday. The club mixes dance with K-pop music and provides the opportunity for all different races and cultures to connect through the art form.

Modern K-pop music was introduced in the 1990s by the group Seo Taiji and Boys. K-pop is a universal genre of music, mixing Western sounds and African-American influences with the Korean style of performance.

Dance teacher Mayra Hernandez is the adviser for the Popcorn Dance Club. She teaches the African, Latin and hip-hop classes, as well as two advanced and one beginner dance class.

“It’s one thing to do hip hop, it’s one thing to do modern, it’s another thing to do K-pop because I feel like it’s a culture all in itself. It’s very much inclusive, and I feel like it resonates with so many different genres, and no matter if you identify as Asian, a person of color or Hispanic you can appreciate good K-pop music and dancing,” Hernandez said.

Members of the Popcorn Dance Club represent a variety of different races and cultures, reinstating the concept of K-pop being such a universal genre. Junior Nia McConnico, who identifies as African American and sophomore Abby Kushner who identifies as caucasian are members of the club, and both have a passion for K-pop music.

“I think that K-pop can bring people together. I’m introverted, but when I find out that someone likes K-pop, I find it easier to talk to them because we can just talk about that,” Kushner said.

Kushner and McConnico feel safe and respected in Popcorn Dance Club and emphasize the fact that this club is a place where anyone can fully express themselves.

“I think everyone, even if you’re not a person who dances a lot or you’re not very confident, can feel like this area is very judgement-free, so whatever dance experience you have, you’re going to have a great time,” McConnico said.

Hernandez, dances to a variety of music and understands the importance of K-pop in the modern world.

“I really appreciate K-pop because I love the fact that its a mixture of R&B, pop, rock and, of course, hip hop, so it’s very versatile. When you hear a K-pop song, it’s like you have no option but to do a little two step, so I very much enjoy it,” Hernandez said.

As well as being their adviser, Hernandez gives the club guidance on their dance routines if they want it but also lets the students be independent and self-led.

“They always want to push the envelope, take risks, add new repertoires, and they’re all very inclusive as well. I really admire this dance group, and I’m always interested to see what they’re going to do next,” Hernandez said.