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Title Enthusiasm and Friendship Shared at K-Pop Boot Camp 2017
No 56 Inquiry 1697 Date 2017.10.17

There have been many Hallyu events related to K-Pop in Australia in 2017. Starting from GOT7's fan meeting, BTS, G-Dragon and other representative K-Pop artists held their concerts in Australia. They were followed by the KCON (Korea Convention Australia 2017) from September 22 to 23 in Sydney, which was the first and largest K-culture festival ever held in Australia. KCON featured many famous Korean pop bands such as Girl's Day, Monsta X and Wanna One, as well as the most popular idol group EXO. They conquered the hearts of Australian K-Pop fans who gathered at the concert.



With the rising popularity in K-Pop in Australia, K-pop Boot Camp Australia 2017, hosted by The Academy, was held at a studio in Brisbane, Queensland. The camp, which celebrated its second anniversary this year, was initiated to give Australian K-Pop aspirants a chance to experience the training programs modeled on those followed by Korean idol group members. This year's Boot Camp, like the last held in Sydney, New South Wales, selected 37 trainees through pre-auditions that toured five major cities across Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide) and video screening by Korean trainers. The selected trainees followed an intensive training program for five days from September 25 to 29 September, after receiving an orientation on September 24. The entire camp program was completed with a showcase held on September 30. I visited Brisbane's studio where the camp took place to meet the trainees.
Three professional trainers were invited from Korea – Trainers Kim Jin Hwan (Dance), Park Seung Min (Dance) and Koh Woo Rim (Vocal) ― as was the case last year. On the 24th, auditions were held for 37 trainees from 11 am to 4 pm to determine teams. At the audition, participants presented their freestyle dance to randomly selected music in the order of registration. They had to do dance performances in their own styles. A vocal audition was also held on the day. After the two auditions, the participants were divided into Team Kim (led by Trainer Kim) and Team Park (led by Trainer Park) for the 5-day training.
The daily activities of the trainees consisted of 6 hours of dance lessons and 2 hours of vocal lessons followed by a simple Korean test and morning exercises. This program was designed based on the actual daily training routines of Korean idol group aspirants. The trainees said that although they like dancing and singing, they have never had such a strenuous training. As the program progressed, some were exhausted from the hard training but most of them successfully completed the program encouraging each other. They did their best throughout this challenging program where they might have enhanced not only dancing and singing skills, but also the important abilities ​​needed in community life including patience and mutual cooperation, and teamwork.


After the five-day program, a showcase was held on the 30th attended by the camp's sponsors, parents and friends of the trainees, who demonstrated their training achievements. The dance performances of the two teams attracted the eyes of the audiences with both individual freestyle dance and choreographed group dance, followed by the vocal performances that impressed the audiences.

The Showcase led to a boot camp completion ceremony. For dance and vocal performances, the Paldo Choice Awards were awarded to Team Park, the official sponsor of the camp. Emelina Chow(Team Kim) and Madeline Ting (Team Park) were selected as the most improved trainees who showed the greatest progress during the camp and were also awarded prizes. Sophia Park (Team Park) from Perth whose parents are Australian and Chinese, said in an interview with the correspondent, 'I was in Boot Camp for the first time this year and I am very happy to achieve such good results.' She added, 'I became interested in K-Pop after watching a music video of Big Bang and started to dance to K-Pop with my high school friends. The interest in K-Pop choreography grew into the current enthusiasm for K-Pop.'


K-pop aspirants from various cultures participated in this camp held in Australia, a country of immigrants. They shared their enthusiasm for K-Pop and friendship while practicing and spending five days together. Among them, Alina May-Lee Dempsey, an Aboriginal Australian participant from Mount. Isa, commented, 'I was first introduced to K-Pop via YouTube, and I became interested in Psy and EXO. It was a very tough training, but I really had a lot of fun.' All the trainees that the correspondent interviewed said they were happy to have a chance to reflect on themselves as well as practice dancing and singing skills during the camp, which suggests one-step further progress of the camp.


* Kim Min-ha (Correspondent in Australia)