Dance K-Pop among the skyscrapers

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Generation Z youths gather daily on the terrace of Azca financial center to practice Korean dance choreography

An ordinary day for Chiara Manuguerra, a 24-year-old Italian-Spanish woman, starting her studies at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, between notebooks and architecture, and continuing at Ciudad Universitaria, where she travels to attend classes that she loves. love. There, he takes the subway line 6 for four stops that separate him from his second passion: dancing K-Pop. Dance is above all entertainment for her, although she admits that she wants to be able to dedicate herself to this professionally. “That won’t work, I’m a realist,” he admitted with a hint of sadness in his voice. At Azca you can freely practice choreography among the skyscrapers of Castellana, and at the same time cultivate your love of Korean architecture and dance.

Like him, there are dozens of young people who meet every day on the open terraces of the financial district on Paseo de la Castellana to dance to K-Pop, a South Korean music genre that has become a worldwide phenomenon in the last five years. Most of them are no more than 25 years old, they belong to generation Z, or post-millennial generation, and they invest all their free time replicating the complex choreography of their favorite band. They meet in the afternoon, when they leave school or university, though especially on weekends when they practice the most.

Two years ago they found in Azca the perfect place to meet. “Before we used to go to Atocha, but more and more people started gathering, and the police chased us away,” said Manuguerra, who founded the urban dance group Nova Big Family in early 2019. Mirrors on the tower walls surrounding the “dance floor” and the absence of neighbors – the surrounding buildings are occupied by offices and commercial activities – are the two main reasons that create a superblock between Nuevo Ministerios and the Bernabéu at kilometer zero of Korean pop Madrid.

The K-Pop boom hit the capital less than three years ago. Manu Guerra approaches Korean pop at Wosap, the first dance academy in Madrid to offer classes in this musical genre. “With a girl I met at the academy, I prepared my first choreogaphy, Kill this love, by the girl group Blackpink.” He liked the experience so much that he started recruiting members for his group among the academy students. Today is a former student himself teaching this genre, which has become popular since 2015.

Roxie Ramos is a full-time financial accountant. A 30 year old Peruvian, when he left the office, he put on his gym clothes and ran to Azca to train with his group. She started ballet at the age of eight, followed by Peruvian and belly dancing. He never thought about leaving his classic training comfort zone until he met Korean pop and joined the Nova Big Family group. “K-Pop includes a lot of different dance styles, I love this flexibility,” he explained.

More than ten groups meet every day at this open-air dance academy to practice choreographing the latest Korean music trends to perfection. fans of the genre call Korean pop music stars. When every movement and facial expression has been perfectly internalized, the groups move the exhibition to the center of Madrid.

“We realized that what we love most is not just seeing us dance, but doing it in a well-known place in the city and with public interaction,” says Manu Guerra. Puerta del Sol, pera, Royal Palace or Retiro are the most popular places for exhibitions that they record and upload to their social networks, although ever since the Gran Vía station was inaugurated, the music stage and Telefónica building have received support from the public. The group’s latest video, a cover of the Korean song Ping Pong, garnered nearly 80,000 views in four days.