I fell into K-Pop by pure chance.
To put it simply, I met a girl, Shub – now one of my best friends – who happened to dance to K-Pop on YouTube.
I can never thank her enough though because she sat me down and introduced me to the incredible music and complex choreographies that come hand in hand within K-Pop. She helped me learn group members’ names (I really sucked at this at first) and is completely at fault for my BTS album collection. It’s safe to say I doubt I’d ever have gotten into K-Pop, and K-Pop dance without her.
Seeing her videos, how confident she was and how much fun it looked, immediately I knew I wanted to be like her. I wanted to have the confidence to not only dance these dances but film and upload them to YouTube. Dances that were (at the time) styles that I felt I could never do justice or would just look ridiculous attempting. So, from there, I fell hard and fast into the world of K-Pop and the wonderful community that has built itself around it.
Believe it or not, I was always the shy, awkward, quiet type and often still am. (The first time I was ever recognised from YouTube…. I asked THEM for a selfie because I couldn’t believe it…!?! I am awkward incarnate.) Though few people I meet believe this after seeing the type of videos I make.
However, what I think people don’t realise is that I, like many others, started out filming videos in my bedroom, or leaving my house at 5am to go somewhere to film whilst nobody would be awake to see me. I didn’t even tell my friends or family I’d started a channel until they found out themselves months later. But now I step out onto the busy streets of London with my camera and start dancing un-phased. (I still haven’t mastered talking to the camera in front of people though!) I wholeheartedly put this down to the wonderfully supportive community of K-Pop fans that cheer on not only myself, but everyone, with such love and passion that I’ve never seen in any other online community. They finally helped me get a little self-confidence to stop being so shy and awkward – though I won’t lie, I still have my moments… A lot of them.
My favourite thing about dancing K-Pop and uploading covers though, is the people you meet as a result. Thanks to K-Pop dance I have found countless like-minded people through YouTube (and Instagram, I never knew there was such a big K-Pop dance community there!?) who love the same things as me, and now have this wonderful group of friends that I’d never have met had I not gathered up my courage and filmed a poorly lit video, balancing a camera on a stack of books and uploaded it to the internet. I have truly never felt as at home in a group of people as I do within that of the K-Pop community, and an added bonus? It makes filming videos ten times more fun when you can collaborate and muck about with others in the process!
As a result, I hope to do what I can to help bring K-Pop to the U.K. and encourage more people to give it a go. To give people the chance that I stumbled across and provide opportunities for others to make wonderful friends they have K-Pop in common with too. Because one of the best things about the K-Pop community is we’re not confined by age, ethnicity, gender, even language – as let’s face it, how many of us are actually fluent in Korean?
While there’s social media which makes it a lot easier to find other K-Pop fans nowadays, and with the rise in K-Pop’s popularity in the U.K. it’s a lot more common to like K-Pop here. However, to actually meet other fans in real life and break that virtual wall, there’s still a limited amount of opportunities. (Although this year we’re totally being spoilt with K-Pop concerts!) Therefore, I hope to expand on what I began to do in 2017, to host K-Pop events like the ones I did with the London Korean Festival, or at MCM Comic Con, and make these more frequent and accessible to everyone.
Doing this last year truly made me so happy to see people turning up alone, shyly joining in with dances, yet by the end of the event they were slaying routines and sat swapping Facebook’s with new friends. It’s incredible how wherever you are, the moment you find another person who likes K-Pop you’re instantly not alone, you’re part of a family.
So, to end this on what I hope to be an inspiring (Insfires-ing? BTS anyone? No? Okay. Awkward moment over) note, I guess I just want to say to any other shy aspiring K-Pop dancers out there, or shy K-Pop fans in general, never be afraid to speak to other people in the community or turn up to a K-Pop event alone as it really is the friendliest most welcoming family of people… You never know when you might meet your future best friends!
Xina is a K-Pop dancer and YouTuber from the UK. You can often find her filming dance videos on the streets of London, hosting K-Pop dance meets or performing at events across the UK.
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