SSENZE – A positive strength towards the Singapore K-Pop dance scene
An inside look at Singapore's K-Pop Dance Cover scene
Just like most dance cover groups, you might have seen SSENZE practicing in publics spaces such as *SCAPE. While others may know SSENZE as the well-deserved winner of the performance category during the Singapore 2019 Changwon K-Pop World Festival Preliminary Round, where they performed a powerful and synchronised dance cover of CLC’s NO. But what goes behind this charismatic and hardworking group?
SSENZE was formed in 2016 after being introduced by their mutual friends to take part in a Singapore K-Pop dance competition and now the eight member dance cover group consists of Kris, Yu Zhen, You Wen, Fong, Xiao Man, Xing Yi, Pei Wen and Bev. Prior to the group’s formation, each member had their own dance backgrounds and crews.
We had the opportunity to talk to SSENZE and learn more about their experience as a K-Pop dance cover group in Singapore.
What made SSENZE decide to start doing K-Pop dance covers?
Xing Yi: I’ve always liked to dance and I actually started out with street dance. At the same time, I also really enjoyed K-Pop and eventually, I started having friends who wanted to learn the choreography of K-Pop groups together.
You Wen: We all started with the same mindset – we want to learn the dance. Once we started learning together, we thought why not just film it? Back then the only place to upload was on YouTube so we decided to film a dance cover and uploaded it there.
Kris: The K-Pop dance covers scene has grown so much since we first started, it is more like a community now. It is no longer just about uploading your videos online, but more about meeting new friends who share the same passion as you.
It started off as an interest but now it’s much more than that, it’s like a passion I would say
While most of the members have full-time jobs, they always aim to put out at least one dance cover per month. SSENZE also mentioned that they are rather selective when it comes to the type of dance cover they choose, they do not usually push out the latest hit song on the market but rather songs with choreography that they truly enjoy and are suitable for them.
What do your family and friends think about you doing K-Pop dance covers?
Kris: Our parents were introduced to the idea of us dancing ever since we were really young like 10 to 12 years ago, so they weren’t really taken aback by the fact that we are doing K-Pop dance covers. Initially, some of them may not have a warm approach to this lifestyle decision but now they do enjoy and accept it. Whenever we upload a video, our parents do leave comments and share our videos around.
The group also shared with us a sweet and heartwarming moment about another member, Pei Wen, who has really supportive parents and family who will come down with their whole ‘kampong’ with banners to support SSENZE whenever they are at an event or taking part in a competition.
Who would you say are your biggest fans?
Kris: Our running joke in the group is that we don’t have ‘fans’ but we have ‘friends’, we don’t call it a ‘fanbase’ but a ‘friend base’. I think our greatest supporters beside ourselves are definitely our parents and friends.
When asked if the group has ever received negative comments and did they dealt with it, the group has a positive approach to it. They believe that most of the time they are the ones giving themselves the real negative comments during practices. Yuzhen shared that they tend to be harsher with tough love towards each other when it comes to dance practices so as to help the group improve and grow.
Yu Zhen: We haven’t seen a lot of negative comments, but if we do, we don’t really take it personally. We actually find it quite funny and will share it around amongst ourselves!
Kris: We tend to take such comments as something constructive as well. It could be a comment on the way we edit our videos and we understand that there’s a different style that people may like, since we are producing public content, we like to take those as constructive comments and try to work out how we can improve with these comments while still retaining our own style.
Are there any memorable experiences you’ve had as a group?
Kris: There was once we were overseas for a competition. It just so happened that there was a protest going on outside the venue and we had to leave via the back door where there would be cars arranged to transport us out. We were the last group to be transported out from the venue and the moment our car arrived, I couldn’t get in because I was standing behind Xing Yi and she just dived into the car by herself and there was no space for me. I just waited for her to get her act together and that was a really funny moment for us and it’s something we will never let it rest, it’s a story of how my member treats me.
What are some challenges you’ve faced as a group?
You Wen: I think the main difficulty for us is scheduling our times. The song choices is also a challenge, as much as we’ll like to match the same number of people for a cover, it’s hard if we’re not all in Singapore at the same time or if we don’t get the full support of everyone who wants to do the song, so prioritising and selecting the song is important. Which is why communication within the group is important.
Kris: Adding on to what she said, it’s a real commitment since we have to juggle between our personal lives, work, family, practices and even finding time to produce and edit the videos.
What would you say to people who want to come together and form their own dance cover group?
You Wen: To me, the most important is to form a group with friends or people that you can connect well with. Along the way, you will find yourself spending a lot of time together and there comes a time where you have to share your opinions. Thus, it makes the process more enjoyable if you do it with people that you understand and clique well with.
Xing Yi: Everyone has to start from one point, so don’t be scared to show people what you have done as doing K-Pop dance covers is a learning process, we all learn and improve as we go.
Kris: Even if you are starting at the point where you find yourself not having the right people to start dancing with, I would say just go ahead and do it still. Everything is always going to be trial and error, as you go along, you will eventually find the right group of people for yourself.
SSENZE also believes that even if you can’t find the right group of people to form a group, you can always find enjoyment and gratification by doing solo covers. The most important part is to just go and chase your dream!
What does SSENZE believe in?
Kris: We all started with loving K-Pop and with a passion for dance. We always believe and try our best to produce content that we will not be ashamed of and that’s what we always work towards. At the same time, we always hope that the Singapore K-Pop dance scene can continue to grow and become more established. The one thing we always strive for whenever we go for competitions or talk to our international friends is to represent and let people know more about the Singapore K-Pop dance scene in a more positive light, and that it is continuously growing as a community.
On a lighter and relatable note, the dance cover group also believes that apart from dancing, food is the ultimate factor that drives them together as a group!
With their amazing chemistry, they stayed together and participated in multiple competitions and upload dance covers to their YouTube channel consistently throughout the four years which shows their dedication and drive to promote the Singapore K-Pop dance community.