There’s no need for words. In the beginning it starts with only Lee Minwoo’s fingertips. As the music plays on, the dancers take their spots on opposite sides as if it was the parting of the Red Sea. Standing in the middle, Lee Minwoo slowly starts his engine. Even as he dances gently, there’s a definite edgy characteristic point to it. As if he’s standing on the actual concert stage, he has got the facial expression and gaze right on. At M Lee Minwoo’s concert rehearsal studio, one can feel the breath of a master artisan who never loses the trendiness of an idol.
Shinhwa’s Lee Minwoo will be holding his solo concert as M Lee Minwoo, on 24-25 May. M STEP, which will take place at Olympic Hall in Seoul’s Olympic Park, will see M Lee Minwoo perform all the songs from his solo 10th anniversary special commemorative album M+TEN released in February, with a variety of new performances.
Practice is necessary to present the best stages. On top of his busy schedule as a master on Mnet’s ‘Dancing 9’, Shinhwa’s Lee Minwoo is practising overnight, and without taking the weekends off. When 10Asia visited the rehearsal studio, Lee Minwoo’s tired gaze peeked through between his black mask and his black hat, but once the music played, a master came into view. No signs of weariness could be seen.
Lee Minwoo’s million-dollar smile is the source of energy in the rehearsal studio. Even as he’s just about to take a break, Lee Minwoo created a happy atmosphere with his friendly chats with the dancers. Just like colleagues who have been working together for a long time, instead of lengthy comments, all it takes to reverse the atmosphere is just a look in the eyes. The know-how of 17-year veteran Lee Minwoo is hidden all over. Changing movements with just a look, he adapts the choreography on the go, according to the situation in the studio. It’s to the extent where he’s just sauntering along and it could be seen as dance steps. There’s a sparkle in Lee Minwoo’s eyes from time to time. He is a professional who doesn’t slack off a wee bit when it comes to his own work.
Lee Minwoo will be performing the songs from his albums with new arrangements. ‘Don’t Trust Men’ from his 4th album M RIZING, has been completely made over, ‘Bump’, ‘The M Style’, and other of his solo hits are also being prepared to present a completely different style from before. Of course he will also be unveiling all the songs from his M+TEN album.
The surprising thing we found while observing Lee Minwoo’s practice, is that even in a small space like the studio, Lee Minwoo has a completely commanding presence. As Shinhwa’s Lee Minwoo, he works in sync with the members and mixes in a little aegyo into his tone every now and then to bring up the atmosphere. As M Lee Minwoo, he thrives from the pressure as a soloist. Even as he strikes a small pose leaning against the glass panel at the back of the studio, I feel his aura.
Lee Minwoo says on the differences with Shinhwa’s Lee Minwoo, “M Lee Minwoo is free” and “Can be warm, can be cute, can be sexy”. Putting everything into everything he wants to do with a variety of colors. It was only a short session in the rehearsal studio, but he shines even under the dark shadow cast by the brim of his hat, and by looking at his eyes, I could estimate how dazzling the time will be for M Lee Minwoo, beyond Shinhwa’s Lee Minwoo, to show off his charm to his heart’s content. A true master’s feast, doesn’t it make your heart flutter just thinking about it?