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  • 70
    A Beginner's Guide to Korean 💖
    Today we have a mini Korean lesson for you. We'll teach you a few basic phrases to know if you're new to the Korean language!  First up is "hello," the most basic greeting. If you're a KPOP fan, you might already be familiar with this phrase from your favorite idols' greetings. In Korean, we say "안녕하세요" (annyeonghaseyo). Here is a compilation of BLACKPINK saying it:  안녕하세요 is in "존댓말," or more formal and polite Korean. If you are saying hi to your friends, you can also just say "안녕" (annyeong), which is a more casual greeting. You might also see KPOP idols saying 안녕 to their fans in a more familiar context!  A lot of KPOP idol groups have unique and iconic greeting phrases. For example, Dreamcatcher adds the phrase "내 꿈꿔" (nae ggoom ggweo) to their greeting before "안녕하세요." This means "dream of me," which is fitting for their group name Dreamcatcher! Watch below: Two more phrases we will teach you are "congratulations" and "thank you." In Korean, "congratulations" is "축하합니다" (chukhahapnida) or "축하드립니다" (chukhadeuripnida, more formal - literally means "I give you congratulations"). "Thank you" is "감사합니다" or "kamsahapnida." In the video below, at the linked time (38s), you can see Jaemin saying congratulations (축하드립니다) to Baekhyun, who responds by saying thank you (감사합니다). We hope this was a helpful mini lesson. Is there anything else you want to learn how to say in Korean? Respond to this email and ask! We will respond and teach you. With love, ED Team
  • 69
    Q&A with Popping legend KYO (Pt.2)
    A few weeks ago for our predebut, we sent an interview with our popping instructor, KYO. Today, we have a continuation of that, as Kyo talks more about popping, dancing, and more! Hi, my name is KYO and I'm a choreographer, KPOP dancer, and street dancer. Nice to meet you all! Q: Are there exercises that can enhance how we pop so that we can show it at its full potential? A (Kyo): There's no one specific exercise that helps you with popping but it depends on the person and on the dancer. With popping, you need to be able to instantaneously concentrate power so I don't think I can say going to the gym necessarily helps but exercises that require force can help. I think cardio, running, or other exercises that require stamina could help.  Q: What routines can we do? A: I do practice basic things. Rather than a choreography or a routine, there are some basic movements. I will teach you everything during ED classes, so be sure to pay attention!  Q: How can we make our popping more powerful? A: People tend to associate popping with a powerful image and think of it as something really strong but it's actually very important to control your power. Strong movements don't mean you're good at popping. You need to be able to control your own strength. Focusing your power in one moment and controlling and manipulating that power—if you can't control this strength, it can create an overpace and make your pops look unnatural or odd. So you need a lot of practice controlling your strength, and when that's possible, you can create a more powerful dance that looks better. When you practice popping, if you're not consistent you can lose your feel for it. So just like a sport, practicing consistently every day is important and practicing popping isn't hard. When you're on the subway, before you go to bed, when you eat, it's easy—just doing this is plenty of practice and doing this every day is important, so practice!  Q. What is your favorite thing about teaching popping? A: The good thing about popping is that it can actually be danced to any music. If you learn popping, you don't need to move like a popper to popping music. You can apply popping techniques to ballads, R&B, classical music, hip hop, and more. You can dance to many different genres of music. That's a big strength of popping and you can dance in a way that fits that genre of music. Q: What is your favorite popping move? A: I think control is very important and it's something I like. For example when we listen to music, just because there are high notes doesn't mean it sounds good. In popping, conveying emotions through strength control or speed control and the impression that creates are things that I like. Rather than strong pops or large, technical movements, I prefer detailed, delicate movements that can convey emotions.  Similarly, when we sing, there are high notes, low notes, or we can sing with power or more delicately and gently. I think this is also very important in popping. Your pops can be strong or soft, you can move fast or slowly, I'm attracted to the kind of dancing that controls these tensions. I just think that's so cool.  Q: What is the most common mistake people make when they start to learn popping? A: It's common for people to miss beats because they focus on popping. You have to think about the pop and also the beat so it's important for the pop and the beat to line up exactly and beginners often have trouble with this. As I said before you need to know how to control your own strength and they try to flex too hard and cause an overpace due to a lack of control and looking like you can't control your strength isn't good for popping. So you need to know how to control your power and one more thing—people often worry about whether a move is right or wrong when they try to find that answer but when you're dancing, rather than worrying about whether a move is right or wrong you should just think about whether the movement fits the music and is exactly what you want to express and do it with confidence. Don't think about those things too much—whether your movement is right or wrong—but instead thinking about how to convey exactly what you want helps beginners dance better. We hoped you enjoyed this interview with Kyo! Join one of his live classes or watch his on-demand classes on our website if you want to learn popping.  With love, ED Team
  • 68
    The story behind Kick Back by WayV with RyuD
    Have you seen the viral Kick Back choreo? Maybe you saw the video of Lisa of BLACKPINK dancing with Ten from WayV, or the #kickbackchallenge on social media. Did you know that our instructor Ryu D is one of the people who made the original choreography?  Watch the full interview with Ryu D about the story behind Kick Back below! The text of the interview is included below the video.  Ryu D is a choreographer and the leader of Auspicious Crew, who was the choreography director for NCT and EXO as well as a World Tour dancer with BTS and a director for the show Kingdom working with ATEEZ. The questions below were submitted by our trainees via our social media channels.  Q: What's your biggest inspiration and when did you start dancing? A (Ryu D): I started break dancing in middle school, and believe it or not, I was a trainee for a while and started dancing in earnest when I was 20. It’s been about 8 years now. As for my inspiration, I’m inspired a lot by dancers who came after me or newer dancers who do a lot of trendy work these days. I watch a lot of their videos on Instagram, for example. Q: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to be a KPOP choreographer? A: I think all possibilities are open. KPOP branched out overseas, for example, and I think foreign choreographers and dancers can become KPOP choreographers. It helps to upload and market your choreographies to seize these sorts of opportunities. Q: When you create a choreography, where do you start your process and with what mindset? A: I have two different processes for choreographing—one for making KPOP choreos, and one for personal choreos. When I make KPOP choreos, it’s a professional process in a workplace setting for me, so I analyze the artists’ characters a lot. For example, when I’m choreographing, I do analyses of what kind of choreographies the artist would be good at, what the concept of the song is, and which keywords need to be included. When I’m doing personal choreographies, I try to develop what I want to do and express. For example, I might experiment with a new skill that I want to use even if it’s over the top, then apply the elements I like to KPOP choreos. Q: Do you have any tips for creating choreographies? A: For this as well I have different processes for KPOP choreos and personal choreos. First, when you are making KPOP choreos, thinking a lot about the composition will be helpful for choreographing. Rather than a routine that is completely full of choreography, if you express different scenes in the composition, for example, it can be quite well-received by the public. Next, for personal choreos, as I said previously, a personal tip I have is to continuously attempt something technical or something that you don’t normally try. To explain the composition to you in some detail, for example there was a part in the choreo that looked like this, then we did some free dancing. Afterwards, the members gather together in formation to show a cave, or they spin in formation, or they form a tree. In this way, if you express keywords that people might notice as a composition in the choreography with multiple dancers, you can express more diverse things. Also, rather than having one person expressing the shape of a tree, it also looks cooler to show a tree with multiple people, so it’s good to do these things when making a choreo. A tip for creating KPOP choreos is that if you include a composition in it, you don’t need to choreograph that part, which is nice. Q: How did you come up with the first 8 count of the chorus? It's very unique and eye-catching! A: I have something I want to say about this—for the choreo for Kick Back, well, for Resonance, I worked on it with one other choreographer, Danho, but many different choreographers worked on Kick Back. Ian Eastwood, Keone (Madrid), Auspicious Crew, and many others worked on it together. So this part is Ian Eastwood’s choreography. From there, MO.I and I added a more Korean approach in our edits. Like this, foreign choreographers worked together with us to produce this work in collaboration. Q: How long did you brainstorm for "Kick Back"? A: We received the job for Kick Back last minute, so to compose and put parts together it took 3 or 4 days. It was then implemented right away. As for WayV, they’ve been doing lessons with me since they were trainees, so I have a lot of affection for them. Because we already knew each other, we could move forward with the choreography more quickly. Q: What was the theme that you had in mind when you first heard the song to make the choreo? A: When I first heard the song Kick Back, I thought it was very unique. It had a catchy verse that we like, so I thought that it could come across well to people. The phrase Kick Back is intuitively understood, and “kick kick kick kick kick kick back” is very catchy, so I thought it would turn out very well. As I expected, there were a lot of challenges and many people liked it a lot, so I’m happy with it. We did the Kick Back challenge with this choreo. I filmed it with the (WayV) members myself as well and filmed these videos, and the reaction was so much better than we had hoped for. On Instagram, for example, I still get tagged in the videos. I posted a Kick Back challenge about two days ago, and people really liked it. Please keep dancing to it! I would appreciate it. Q: What was the main thing you wanted to show with this choreo? A: The thing I most wanted to show as I created this choreo was that I wanted every individual member to stand out. Since I have so much affection for each member, I thought a lot about how to make all of them stand out, and when I was planning the composition, I talked a lot with the performance director team about these things. Q: What was the most fun part of the choreography to you? A: The most fun part of the choreography is definitely the Kick Back part. This is also the only part that I remember, so I think that it’s the most important keyword. Q: How can one improve sharpness in dancing? A: When you dance, if you want to dance cleanly, the basics are the most important. Did you learn this? With your shoulders pulled down, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. This is a really important basic skill. I also do this when I do lessons with trainees. More so that you would think, if you practice the basics, your dance will become cleaner and prettier. So put a lot of power into the end here and with a fast and slow, cut it off, then cut it off and bring it back, all while making sure your shoulders stay low. If you practice to the music, I think that your dance will become cleaner than you might expect. What do you think? If you haven't already, be sure to upload your #kickbackchallenge videos and tag Ryu D (@auspicious_ryud on Instagram)!  We hope you enjoyed this week's Predebut!
  • 67
    Thoughts by Jay: language and music
    For this week's predebut, we have interesting thoughts about the relationship between language and music from our vocal trainer Jay.  Since different languages have different sounds, pronunciations, and characteristics, it is inevitable that they express different vibes when sung. Jay says that English is actually a good language to sing in, because it has a good ring to it. On the other hand, Korean uses plosives (or phonetic stops, also called 받침 Batchim in Korean) which can weigh down your sound when you sing.   Different Korean singers take different approaches to this. Some singers muddle plosive sounds to make their pronunciations flow more like English, and some singers enunciate clearly. BLACKPINK is an example of singers who sing in Korean using this flowing, English-style pronunciation. This tactic can make your singing sound cool, but ultimately it really depends on what kind of vibe and music you are trying to make.   If you ever wondered why singers use a mix of different languages when they sing, this could partially answer that question! In addition to expressing different meanings through their lyrics, singers use different languages and the sounds that those languages produce as a method of expression.   What is your first language, and which language do you most like to sing in? Let us know!   We hope this edition of predebut was fun and informative! If you want to learn some vocal theory in more depth, check out Jay's vocal lessons.  
  • 66
    Advice from Jay: the importance of practice
    For this week's predebut, we have some advice for you from vocal trainer Jay about practicing to become a better singer.  Whether or not you're naturally born a good singer, you should always remember that practice makes perfect. Practicing diligently and preparing thoroughly for a performance can even help you overcome stage fright. Jay speaks from experience when he says that if you practiced to perfection and you are completely confident about your performance, you will naturally overcome stage fright. This is because stage fright comes from anxiety that you will mess something up, or that you're not perfectly ready in some way. As long as you are fully prepared and practiced enough, you won't have anything to be nervous about. So then what is the best way to practice? According to Jay, you should practice the basics a lot and listen to a lot of good music. Many people may already know that it's important to continue practicing the basics, but it might not be obvious why it's important to listen to a lot of good music too. This is because listening to a diverse range of good music can train your ears so that you can learn what good music and good singing sounds like, and replicate that in your own performance. The best singers are influenced by their own predecessors: without Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, for example, Ariana Grande and Beyoncé as we know them today might not exist!  A cool fun fact that you might not have known is that when you listen to music, especially if you are really paying attention to the song and enjoying it, your vocal cords move a little bit in accordance with the melody. When this process is repeated often, the movements get embedded as muscle memory and it can help you sing better.  Along that same vein, it's important to mimic good music and good singing to improve as a singer. Covering songs you like and mimicking your favorite singers can be great fun ways to practice! You should just make sure that you are copying good music and good singers, however subjective that may be.  Something that you should watch out for in your daily lives is the way you speak. Since we talk more than we sing, we use our vocal cords the most when we talk. Thus, if you misuse your throat muscles in everyday life, it can affect your singing negatively. Examples of misusing your throat muscles or vocal cords can include talking in an overly breathy way, speaking in a lower voice than your natural tone, or tightening your voice too much. As a side note, if you observe babies and animals, you will see that they use their voice in the most natural way, which is the best way.  We hope Jay's advice was helpful for you. Keep practicing hard! If you want to learn in more depth, check out Jay's vocal lessons!