Kylie Hester was a high school junior and an avid dancer when she first encountered Korean pop music, commonly known as K-pop. He was intrigued by K-pop’s extreme combination of genres and sounds, especially as a Chinese American adoptee and one of the few Asians in his school community.
When Hester arrived at Ohio State in 2019, she said her passion for K-pop and dance led her to audition for Queen of Aces, also known as QoA. Hester said that while there are other K-pop dance groups on campus — J2K, Top Pride of Korea and NEX+ CREW — QoA is Ohio State’s premier all-girls K-pop dance cover group and said the nine-person ensemble is a testament to how united the group is. Maybe K-pop.
“We really want people to come and have a place where they can be part of a team,” said Hester, a fourth-year strategic communications major.
Hester said that joining QoA allowed her to nurture her love of K-pop during high school.
“There was no Asian representation or culture around me,” Hester said. “So, when I heard about K-pop and started getting into it, it was a whole new world.”
Hester said QoA was founded by Ohio State’s Korean Student Association in 2014 with the sole intention of dancing at the Korean Student Association’s annual Korean Culture Show. QoA quickly gained popularity and soon branched out to perform at additional events valuing camaraderie and teamwork.
“We come to practice, and we enjoy each other’s presence,” Hester said.
QoA learns several studio dances by copying the choreography of K-pop artists and memorizing up to 15 individual routines throughout the year, Hester said. QoA recently wrapped up its fall semester performance in early October, collaborating with various Asian organizations on campus, he said.
Chemical engineering sophomore and QoA member Kara Kiratikosolrak said she moved to the U.S. from Thailand when she was 14 and appreciates the tight-knit nature of the group.
“I really love my group members, and they’re like another family,” Kiratikosolrak said. “This is something I’ve been looking for since high school.”
Michelle Bohman, a second-year industrial and systems engineering major and QoA member, said that since she was once surrounded by K-pop and Korean culture, since she lived in South Korea until age 6, QoA helps her connect with her roots. .
“I actually grew up dancing in my bathroom,” Bohman said. “And when I got on campus, I was like, ‘You know what? I might try to audition for a group and make some friends in that dance community.’
Hester said QoA is busy preparing for the 2023 Korean Culture Show, which is set to take place in February, and QoA will perform an ambitious series of routines it is currently learning.
Hester, Kiratikosolrak and Bohman said they are looking forward to the show, as high-profile K-pop groups BTS and BLACKPINK perform at the 2022 Grammy Music Awards and 2022 MTV Video Music Awards.
Bohman said that seeing K-pop acts succeed in the US mainstream is a source of pride for QoA and all K-pop fans.
“Growing up, a lot of people didn’t know anything about Korea other than North Korea, and that was very frustrating,” Bohman said. “But as I got older, K-pop became more popular and K-dramas became more popular and just Korean culture in general, it was a moment of relief for me.”
More information about QoA can be found on its Instagram page.