Up and down the country, each University is full of different societies for different interests. A few have their very own kpop society, celebrating Korean culture and all things kpop. Though Reading University’s society, RUKPOPS, is one that definitely catches the eye.
Previously watching their performances at the KPOP University Nationals they held on their home turf, I got to see their talent first hand. Fortunately the talented group were kind enough to give us an interview about their society, and what they love about being in the group.
How did RUKPOPS start up?
We had a group chat for KPOP fans that we met by coincidence at university, and when it got to about 20 people we realised we had enough people for an actual society. We put on some casual meet ups and collected signatures to show the university that there was enough interest and then we became official!
How long has RUKPOPS been going?
RUKPOPS has been officially running since February 2017. It’s amazing to think that in under 3 years we’ve grown from less than 20 members to almost 150, and over 300 followers on Instagram!
Are there any events you’ve organised or taken part in at university or outside that have a special place in your heart?
Each event we have organised and attended all have a special place in our hearts because it is the time where our members get to showcase their talents, get involved and make new friends! One of our biggest events we have organised is the KPOP University Nationals at the University of Reading’s very own Student Union. In this event, 17 universities across the UK took part in the KPOP competition as well as being able to raise £700 to the Samaritans and going live on BBC Radio Berkshire as a result of this event.
Outside the university, we collaborate with different KPOP societies around the UK and hold socials for everyone to take part in as well as attending the annual KPOP national’s competition held at different universities each year.
Inside the university, we get invited to perform at different societies’ showcases such as drama, ballet etc. as well as the Student Unions’ award nights and many more! In addition to this, we hold our very own awards night at the end of the academic year to give awards especially to our dedicated members and celebrate a year of success with RUKPOPS. It is an extremely spectacular night where all our members gather together to congratulate and thank each other for being what we call a wonderful ‘family’ here at the university.
What has been your favourite choreography as a group to perform?
Our favourite choreography to perform as a group has to be Twice’s ‘Heartshaker’. Which we performed at the Ballet society’s dance show in 2018. It was the 1st time that all our dancers were able to share a stage together and it really brought all of us together.
What’s the hardest choreography you’ve performed?
The hardest choreography we’ve ever performed is definitely ‘Callin’ by A.C.E. It leaves us breathless on the floor without fail!
What is it like to take part in the inter-University KPOP competitions?
Taking part in inter-uni competitions has been great and has become something we look forward to every year. It has helped us to improve our dancing and singing and it also helped us to build relationships with kpop societies all over the country!
Are there any groups you take inspiration from?
As a society we take inspiration from a huge range of kpop groups as there are so many, each with their own styles and quirks. BTS is the most popular kpop group amongst our society members so we probably take most inspiration from them as well as many other groups.
Are there any other societies or dance groups here in the UK you’d love to collaborate with?
So far, we have collaborated with the University of Surrey’s KPOP society twice. One of the events were a dance class collaboration where our dance directors taught a dance each to our members, while our second social was a clubbing event held in Surrey.
Another university we have collaborated with is Coventry University, where our Reading members travelled to Birmingham to have a karaoke night with Coventry’s KPOP society members.
In the future, not only do we want to collaborate with societies here at Reading but we would love to collaborate with different universities around the UK so our members are able to meet new kpop friends as it is a very good opportunity to get everybody together and share the love for kpop around the UK.
What, other than dance, do you really enjoy doing in your society?
Our society does not only include dancing but we also hold activities every Thursday. So far, we have held Korean cooking sessions making ‘kimbap’ (Korean sushi) and ‘jumeok bap’ (Korean rice balls), Korean language sessions taught by a Korean teacher, clubbing nights with different societies in Reading, games nights, Korean drama and movie nights, etc. Each Thursday is packed with tons of fun for the members who do not like to dance or to just enjoy their time here at the university and relieve their stress from university work.
Are there any upcoming events that you’re excited about?
There are many incredible events that we have longingly anticipated for the next academic year! We cannot wait to meet our new fresher’s joining us in the new year and welcome them into our kpop family! The year will be filled with full of fantastic events just like last year but even better! Some of our first events will include clubbing socials with other societies at Reading so our members are able to meet new people, Korean cooking sessions, language sessions and many MANY more to list…
One of the bigger events we have anticipated for is the annual KPOP University National competition held at the University College London in December with other universities around the UK. We love being able to see others’ talents and mix with other KPOP lovers.
Currently, we are organising Reading’s own version of ‘Produce 101’ (a Korean idol survival show) for UK universities to participate. We are extremely excited to see how this turns out as this is the very first time anyone has ever done this in the UK!
Here are some of the videos from their performances at the Kpop National Competition at Keele. The society won first place in all categories, as well as placing as the overall winner!