Hi folks! Today I’d like to introduce to you a newcomer to the Korean entertainment (not just K-pop) scene here in Toronto. They are Urban Collide Entertainment, an independent company that was born out of the passion of two remarkable individuals: Amy Zhang and Kyo Chan. If you’ve been following us until now, they are also the brains behind Korenation, an intimate take on the dance covers showcase that’s prevalent among fans of K-pop. For our article on Korenation, click here. While officially an events and talent agency, there are several things that set Urban Collide apart from the rest of the crowd.
- Urban Collide is a community-based agency, led by two selfless individuals who aim to connect fans to artists, and bring dreams to the stage, to paraphrase their motto.
- It is the first of its kind in Canada: a fully independent events agency that solely relies on the community they’ve built to plan and execute the events they have lined up.
- Within a few months of their inception, they’ve successfully held Korenation in Toronto and promoted Inspirin8 Studio’s dance workshop in Ottawa featuring Jiyoung Youn from 1Million Dance Studio.
- Aside from hosting their own events, they promote and help out with other events that cater to providing opportunities or platforms to local talent. To this end, they’re looking to partner up with other organizations and event planners to support local talent.
- They have access to a vast, largely untapped network of performers, ranging from K-pop dance groups to the classical/jazz community, vocal schools, and the urban/hip-hop dance community, to name a few.
- They have strategically partnered up with Lowell International Academy, whose Ontario branch is a private high school, in order to create a two-way bridge between Asia and Canada.
- Aside from the K-pop-related initiatives, they also promoted for Sing! China (formerly known as The Voice of China), and are helping to organize the upcoming auditions in Toronto.
- The founders are so focused on the community, they prefer to think of themselves as project directors, and Urban Collide as a project, rather than as a company.
Urban Collide’s main goal is to break down the perceived barriers between multiple sub-groups of the performing arts community: K-pop dance groups, classical performers, urban/hip-hop, and the fans. With this in mind, they designed Korenation, initially targeting the K-pop dance groups to show them (and more importantly the Canadian audience) that the dancers behind these groups are fiercely passionate about dancing and the performing arts, and that anyone can join. Another message they were trying to communicate is that K-pop is just another genre of music for an aspiring dancer to perform to, and should not be stigmatized (or any other genre for that matter) by those who have had limited experience with it.
They’re planning on Korenation being an annual event, and for the second iteration, they’re planning on bringing in other communities to truly live up to their name and collide the communities into one major creative event. This planned second Korenation, I imagine, would have dancers from different backgrounds working together to create something uniquely Canadian, blending the influences into one harmonious movement.
Their next event is Momentum, a series of full-day dance workshops, led by a mix of eight professional choreographers. Each will lead a workshop, 4 for beginners, and 4 for intermediate level dancers. There will also be 2 complimentary K-pop cover dance classes (one beginner, one intermediate), led by 2 seasoned dancers. At the end of the workshops, these artists will perform for all the attendees as a gesture of thanks as well as inspiration.
It’ll help to think of Korenation as the foundation for the rest of the events coming up, with Momentum‘s focus being on introducing beginners and intermediate-level dancers to the professional dance community, using K-pop. All the pieces will be performed to Korean music (K-pop, K-hip-hop, K-R&B), and a majority of the choreographers are familiar leaders in the K-pop cover dance scene. This ends up creating a supportive community for the students, as well as a platform for established dancers to take bigger leadership roles as instructors and choreographers.
Momentum‘s eight choreographers come from three different communities: the K-pop cover dance community, the urban dance community, and the hip-hop dance community. The unity of these three dance communities is a never-before-seen moment in the Toronto dance scene. By uniting the strengths of all these dance backgrounds together, Momentum brings together the best of the best to create a safe space for artists to discover and “express.”
Momentum is aimed at youths aged 15 to approximately mid-20, residing in the Greater Toronto Area. Ideally, they’d be active on social media, interested in social experiences, namely dancing and maybe K-pop. Aside from these, those already in the performing arts community, such as dancers, vocalists, producers, students, teachers, and event organizers, are also encouraged to attend and join.
Momentum is perfect for K-pop fans who are inspired to dance, but don’t know where to go and how to begin, those who have always loved dancing but never had professional dance instruction, and even for those who like K-pop and have experience dancing. Momentum aims to help them continue pursuing their passion to dance, by including them in a growing community as well as providing these attendees with professional training and support.
Watch out for Urban Collide presenting the first of the Momentum workshops on April 22nd.