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Meet the UP student who healed through K-pop choreography and got noticed by Girls' Generation's Hyoyeon

By Ratziel San Juan Published Mar 07, 2023 11:52 am

It was 2021 when Sone and ​​​​ReVeluv-first, Iska-second Jazrene Gonzales leveled up her love for K-pop choreography by enrolling in a dance studio based in Quezon City.

Back then, she would only learn K-choreos by herself at home. The UP Diliman student saw the opportunity as a huge convenience since her address had zero space. Meanwhile, her newfound dance spot, Zero Studio PH, had space.

“Old K-pop fan na ako. I’ve been looking for a place, kasi ang hirap pag sa bahay ka lang sasayaw,” Jazrene tells PhilSTAR L!fe. "Sobrang bago siya for me na may ganon palang dance studio na nago-offer specifically for K-pop classes kasi before totally walang ganon."

In addition, it's in a dance studio like this that the K-pop fan finds the freedom "to do what you want."

"Parang you're free to move," she continues. "Mga kasama mo parang as a group kayo ng K-pop kung paano ine-exert ng K-pop idols ‘yung projection nila, stage presence. You’re free to do that as well. Kasi na sa dance studio ka, may salamin sa harap mo, nakikita mo sarili mo. You’re becoming something else."

@jazrene.rv STEP BACK - GOT @girlsontop_sm #girlsontop #stepback #GOT #fyp #foryou #dancecover #kpopfyp #karina #seulgi #wendy #taeyeon #winter #boa #hyoyeon ♬ Step Back - GOT the beat

She found a safe space at Zero thanks to the positive vibes of its dance instructors, especially Coach April Antonette.

“Sobrang open niya. Specifically for Coach April, gusto ko talagang idiin, grabe ‘yung words of encouragement niya," Jazrene says.

She also appreciates how she can dance with her classmates with much ease. 

"Kunyari bago ka, first time mo umattend, hindi mo mafi-feel ‘yun kasi kahit yung mga classmates mo, kahit old na sila, they’re willing to help you learn [kapag] kunwari ‘di mo ma-pick up agad ‘yung steps. They’re very willing to teach you as well,” the introvert commends.

Jazrene found an encouraging environment overall with healthy communication, times of laughter, and just chill singalongs and lip-sync sessions: “Enjoy lang. Parang naglalaro lang kayo, pero may natututuhan.” Along the way, she even made some friends whom she now knows outside the studio.

The Great Escape

The student has now become a Zero regular who visits at least “Twice” weekly during Saturdays and Sunday, while making an exception for weekdays when she likes a K-pop song offered that time.

She has also attended normal classes like basic drills and basic femme, with a further desire to try other genres.

Of the at least 21 K-pop dances she’s learned from the studio as of writing, the most memorable for her were Girls’ Generation’s Forever 1, Aespa’s Savage, XG’s Shooting Star, and, of course, NewJeans’ Hype Boy. The last of which she made multiple attempts to book “kasi laging sold-out…Grabe ‘yung demand niya.”

@jazrene.rv As part of my healing, I’m trying to go back to the things I used to love. One of those is this, dancing. #savage #aespa #fyp #dance #foryou ♬ Savage - aespa

Most importantly, Jazrene shared how her main reason for visiting a dance studio for the first time two years ago was for “healing.”

“Tandang tanda ko pa ‘yun. Naghanap ako ng parang coping mechanism to heal, kasi diagnosed ako ng major depressive disorder. So parang I tried to find other things na doon ko mababaling ‘yung attention ko. Tapos sobrang nagiging helpful, first try ko pa lang sa Zero, naging helpful na siya totally sa’kin. Kaya sinunod sunod na. Tapos parang pag nandon ako, andon lang ‘yung focus ko. Just me enjoying myself at that moment,” Jazrene celebrates.

The UP scholar considers these dance sessions as her “reward” after tending to her pile of acads and other non-academic responsibilities.

Tell me your wish

Why single out this student from the hundreds of new faces that visit Zero weekly? Because Hyoyeon of Girls’ Generation already did.

@jazrene.rv This is something I’ll never forget, I love you @dj_hyo 🖤 #girlsgeneration #kimhyoyeon #hyoyeondessertchallenge #kpopdance #hyoyeon @pinkinmyblood ♬ DESSERT (feat. Loopy, SOYEON ((G)I-DLE)) - HYO

When Jazrene won a ticket to join ED KPOP’s rare opportunity to learn from the SNSD main dancer, she stood out enough from over 300 class participants to be noticed by Hyoyeon.

This meant the whole world to this young Hyohunnie, who considered the main dancer as her “main inspiration.”

“Along the way, nagtuturo siya (Hyoyeon), parang na-notice niya ko. Grabe…kasi si Hyoyeon ‘yung pinaka parang main inspiration ko sa K-pop. Kasi siya ‘yung dancing machine ng Girls’ Generation, siya ‘yung main dancer. So from her talaga ako nakakakuha. Na-notice niya pa ko during that dance lesson, kaya sobrang saya ko noon,” Jazrene reminisces.

That was only virtual. The real deal would come this K-pop fan’s way soon enough.

“Nakita ko siya personally. Kasi pumunta siyang Singapore, naging DJ siya doon. Nakapunta ako sa kaniya kasi…pinakita ng guard ‘yung video ko related doon sa dance. From there, sinign niya ‘yung album ko, t’saka ‘yung photocard pa,” Jazrene gets her sone (wish).