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K-pop takes center stage at blogger festival

By LI XINRAN | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-08 07:46
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Dong Shujun (far right), a 22-year-old K-pop enthusiast, performs at the Sohu Blogger Festival on April 21. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Sohu's Blogger Festival highlights K-pop enthusiasts' passion, friendships, and growth through dance covers, emphasizing dedication and the joy of live performances.

In the colorful world of K-pop, where music and dance reign supreme, there's a hidden story of friendship and personal growth.

On April 21, Sohu, a prominent Chinese internet company, held its second Blogger Festival, bringing together bloggers from its various channels including K-pop, hanfu (traditional Chinese clothing), photography, and health.

Among these, the K-pop channel stood out, attracting the most attention both online and at the event.

During the festival, 15 groups showcased their dance skills on stage. One particularly impressive performance came from Song Jingyi, a 27-year-old enthusiast who, along with her teammates, performed Deja Vu by Tomorrow X Together.

Song, deeply passionate about K-pop since her elementary school days, has been captivated by the diverse charisma of both solo artists and groups. She started dancing at home, joined a dance club in college, took urban and jazz lessons, auditioned, and became a part of dance crews.

"I've explored every possible way in pursuing my love for dancing," she said.

Typically, K-pop fans organize themselves either through friends or K-pop group chats, often creating new lineups and coming up with fresh "group names" for each dance session. But Song belongs to a semi-permanent crew with a fixed name — 119 Rescue Crew — and the core members of the group stay the same.

Song believes that dancing with a more consistent crew improves their teamwork and chemistry.

"Not only are we more synchronized, but our dance styles and energy become more aligned. We start to adapt to each other," she noted.

To perfect their formations and synchronization, Song and her teammates usually rehearse three to four times a week, with each session lasting about three hours. She also takes the time to study the focus cam of the idol she's covering to capture details and their unique style. "If we're going to do it, we need to do it right," she said, noting that all the practice has truly honed their willpower and stamina.

"We often cover intense and demanding boy group dances, so we jokingly refer to ourselves as requiring a '119 emergency rescue'," she chuckled.

Dong Shujun, 22, delved into the world of K-pop dance covers in 2020.Similar to Song, it was also a fascination with idol culture that sparked her love for dancing. But now, her main motivation for continuing this hobby is her friends. However, this also presents a challenge because she finds it difficult to turn down her friends.

"Most of the dance covers I participate in are through invitations from friends. Sometimes, it's for songs I'm not familiar with or haven't heard before, and the other crew members might be total strangers," Dong said. "There are occasions when I end up performing the same dance multiple times to support different friends."

Qian Huiyun, 23, has been a K-pop enthusiast for over a decade. "I've always enjoyed performing in front of people since I was young. Idols like Miss A portrayed an ideal image of who I aspire to be: a confident, charismatic woman who dresses up for herself rather than to please others," she said.

It wasn't until two years ago that Qian, through an invitation from a high school friend, joined the cover dance community.

She was dedicated, investing both money and effort into the endeavor. However, she soon discovered that not everyone has the same level of dedication as she does.

"I would feel a bit disappointed if others weren't fully prepared or arrived late for practice, but then I realized that most people are here to have fun and complete a dance cover together. That's when I began to relax and truly enjoy the process with them," she said.

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