Street Woman Fighter: Opening the Door for Dancers

Thao My editor(Vietnam) 

Street Woman Fighter premiered on MNET this Summer, and its impact on the often-underappreciated South Korean dancing industry has been exponential. Through this program, eight female dance teams from across South Korea competed for the title of ‘Best Dance Team’. Even if there was only one eventual winning team, every dancer has benefited from the explosive success of Street Woman Fighter.Backup dancers have not always necessarily been unknown, but they have never been widely recognizable to the public. When EXO’s Kai had his solo debut last year, all eyes were instead on a girl behind him. Sporting sleek black hair and a charismatically cold gaze, an unknown backup dancer radiated beauty and viewers picked up on it. Garnering millions of views on edited “fancams”, the public came to the same conclusion. “The girl in the glasses is the best!”. But despite this wide public adoration, few would recognize her name, Noze.

 

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What is the best age to debut?

Dani Soto(Mexico)&Thao My(Vietnam) editor

The K-POP industry, as many people know or imagine, is very competitive and very wearisome. Idols train to be flawless artists and they are expected to be role models for society, which is to some extent a lot for them without taking into account that they are humans as well and they can make mistakes. Also, to be able to be in the industry you have to have a strong mentality and mindset to be able to not give up halfway through it. As years go by, the trainees chosen to debut are increasingly young. This is nothing new, we have seen before some examples are Taemin (Shinee) who debuted in 2009 at 14 years old; BoA, who debuted at 14 years old in 2000; and Jisung (NCT) who debuted in 2016 at the age of 14.

Idols who debuted at 14 were usually the youngest of the group, but now the future idols that are 14 are usually or get to be in the middle age members. With the auditions going back to normal after 2 years of pandemic, companies and TV shows auditions are looking for trainees in between 2002 to 2009, we are talking about 19 to 12 years old. Some of the groups that have debuted in the last 2 years that have members that don’t pass the 17 years old are BAE17, Afterschool, Enhypen, Iz*One, Treasure, Rocket Punch, P1Harmony, and many more.

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The harsh reality of dreams of K-pop idols

Thao My editor(vietnam)

Facilitated by open center auditions, email castings, and global searches for “The NextK-Pop Idol”,the facade that becoming an idol is realistic and tangible for most people poses serious implications. It breeds a certain level of envy for a few people. This envy is not necessarily malicious, but it can be.Let’s take for example the recent 2021 Belift Audition. To search for the next possible trainee to feature in their hit survival show program, I-LAND, the subsidiary of HYBE Labels posted an open casting call available to girls across the globe from ‘99-09. This was a real, tangible opportunity for these hopefuls across the world to grasp the same success as members they saw on the screens. The same members who also auditioned and through their merit and talent got in. The successful few stand on a pedestal, shining a beacon of light onto those who want to become trainees themselves. Hearts elated and waited for the post made by the audition casting agents that those who made it to the second round successfully have been contacted. But it does not take more than a simple glance into online community discussions as the days go by and more and more applicants have to face rejection.

They turn hope into anger. How could they be fairly assessed for their talent like those before them if there is not even a view on their video? Just like a business resume where companies will just skim the front page of an applicant, K-Pop casting can consist of just a simple glance at their face. They begin to be angry when they realize many companies are not as fair and organized as they think. Many come to resent idols they deem as less talented than them or direct their anger to those who did pass the audition. 

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Why K-Pop and Korean Music are so popular?

Sabrina Gradolf  editor(Switzerland)

It’s 1992 and three young men in a boy band are performing in a live television talent contest. The sound is new: Korean lyrics, Euro pop, African American hip-hop and rap. They dance in sync.The studio audience goes wild.The judges in their prim suits are less impressed. They reveal their scorecards.The band gets the lowest mark of the night and is voted off the show. The judges couldn't have got it more wrong. In the next few days, the song “I Know” climbs to the top of the charts and stays there for a record-smashing 17 weeks. That night the group,  Seo Taiji and  Boys,ignites a revolution. Korean pop or K-pop was born.K-pop is now a multi-billion-dollar industry.Bands like BTS and Blackpink are selling out in the US, UK and international stadiums within minutes. BTS is second only to Drake in international music sales. How did K-pop conquer the world? It’s a story with several parts.

Sao Taiji and Boys blew everyone away with that one performance on the TV talent show, broadcast live into millions of South Korean homes. The band opened the door to generations of younger Korean artists who were inspired to create music using influences from other parts of the world. In the late 1990s, major artists like Clone also made it in China and Taiwan. The prize at that time was the Japanese music market. The so-called "Queen of K-pop" BoA topped the charts in Japan many times over. She helped open the eyes, ears and ambitions for a lot of people in the music industry. From 2008 K-pop's reach extended well beyond an Asian fan base. Unlike in China and Japan, where they use home grown social media, Korean companies embraced international ones – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – and K-pop began to become available on international music platforms.

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K-Pop Beauty Standards- October 28th

Sabrina Gradolf  editor(Switzerland) 

If one were to open a Korean magazine, the likelihood seeing a curvy, yet underweight, electronically modified model is highly probable. Not surprising as the booming force that drives the entertainment industry in Korea, known as K-pop, is personified by thin women who undergo plastic surgery to attain a less characteristically Asian, and more American looking body and face. Korean women frequently identify American models that flaunt thin yet curvy, hourglass figures as their ideal appearance rarity in naturally occurring female bodies.

Most studies in print that investigate the media’s impact on body image explore thinness of, more often than not, women in media and how lauded thinness influences the targeted audience. While thinness is idealized in Korea, this particular culture stresses the importance of maintaining an ideal, collective appearance.The number of women that desire to achieve Korea’s body ideal reached new summits over the course of the past decade. When members of a given culture fall short of an idea, it promotes proliferous body image dissatisfaction. Body image dissatisfaction drives the desire in Korean women to change their bodies. 

Among several identified compensatory behaviors, plastic surgery in Korea is becoming increasingly popularity due to the desire to achieve a nun natural occurring ideal, as opposed to solely the thin. In almost all cultures, the expectation for women is to be beautiful. However, the specifics of each culture’s ideal body are shaped as they develop their own unique set of qualities, they deem admirable. Korean culture has its own set of societal “rules” that define beauty, its own definition of physical attractiveness, and its own set of body ideals, which shape its collective body image. Prior to discussing how Korean pop culture influences ideals, the definition of Korea’s ideals is necessary. An ideal body in Korea, as in many other cultures, is multi-faceted. It engages the amount of body fat, shape, and the prominence of different facial features.

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Audition Shine E&M - October 22th

Sabrina Gradolf  editor(Switzerland) 

Last Friday our trainees were invited to participate in an audition at Shine E&M. We took a taxi together to the venue. Initially, the entrance to the studio, which is located in Gangnam-gu, was difficult to find but we managed that as well. We were allowed to wait for the big performance in one of the practice rooms.                           

After, what felt like an eternity, the time had finally come. Thao My, China, Iroha and Rachel "Ray" had 15 minutes to stretch, internalize the dance moves and warm up their voices in the audition room. Then it started...

No matter if Rap, Balade or Pop, the trainees scored with everything. Also, the dance performances were an absolute eye-catcher. All of them were full of energy - I have the greatest respect for these young trainees. Every one of them showed that singing and dancing is in their blood. Despite to this enormous pressure, they mastered this audition with perfection and took criticism and remarks of the jurors with respect. 

 Now we must wait and see - hopefully for a positive decision from Shine E&M.

Sabrina Gradolf  editorSwitzerland )

acopia.news@gmail.com                                             

 

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ISKA

Sabrina Gradolf  editor(Switzerland)

 

Everybody knows them and everybody loves them – Exactly… I’m talking about BTS, Blackpink, the "monsters" of Monsta X and other K-POP artists.

We are fascinated by their stage presence, their outfits, the performances...need I say more? You all know what I mean!

Do you also want to feel like a star and dive into the world of K-Pop? Then ACOPIA is the right place for you.

With our ISKA-program we’re active in multicultural exchange, events and stages between Japan, Korea and the world. We support and encourage young, talented people who want to live out their passion for singing and dancing.

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