SOTA, a member of boy group BE:FIRST, appeared as a dance instructor and choreographer at a two-day workshop held during New Zealand’s I-DEVELOP Dance Camp on January 20th and 21st.
A four-day international
dance event and networking experience,
I-DEVELOP aims to "connect, inspire and support local, national and international artists". It was established by Auckland, New Zealand-based dance company, Identity Dance Company (IDCO).
Before joining BE:FIRST, SOTA started
dancing at a very young age under the name of SOUCHIN, and was a professional back-up dancer, choreographer and hip-hop dancer. Being a part of different dance groups, including Kana-Boon! and Kana-Boon! All Star,
and as a solo performer, SOTA has won multiple dance awards.
This event marked the first time SOTA has appeared as a dancer and choreographer overseas since he became an official member of BE:FIRST, with New Zealand being the 10th country he has visited in his career as
a dancer, choreographer, and now as an artist. Through his role as a mentor, SOTA was able to show the participants new choreography created specifically for this event, as well as a routine from Kana-Boon! All Star 2018,
the latter of which was used during the World Hip Hop Dance Championship.
SOTA commented on the importance of his first overseas outreach mentorship:
“I celebrated my birthday right before heading to New Zealand, so this was a great way to start my 22nd year! I was nervous at the beginning, it being some time since I last taught a class overseas, and even more so in a different country and language.
It was very heartwarming to be able to meet new people outside of Japan, and introduce them to what I do, as well as BE:FIRST. This trip has driven me to pursue and challenge myself more as a dancer, as an artist, and as a member of BE:FIRST.
The experience highlights a great eye-opening turning point in my career. Not only do I want to bring this experience back to influence BE:FIRST and BMSG, I also want to create something new and hopefully, be able to collaborate with
some of these great dancers in the future.
The reason why I decided to change my career from an artist who only dances to an artist who can sing and dance back then was simple. I thought that an artist who creates their own music and dances to
it would be able to embody the music much better than if I was only dancing to other people's music, and I would be able to widen my world and potential. I love dancing, and I will strive more to be able to express myself in both. This opportunity
has reassured me that dancers love music. They enjoy it, feel it, dance, and express themselves through music. It has also solidified how dancing has shaped me to be who I am today, how it has brought growing dance communities from all over the world
together in some form, and has continuously encouraged me to be better while in turn giving me the opportunity to learn and work with others.”
BE:FIRST recently unveiled a teaser for their next single, Boom Boom Back, which is scheduled to hit digital platforms on February 13th:
Other teasers for the track have also been revealed on TikTok, including challenge videos featuring the group's members dancing to the hook together.