[Photo] K-pop: For everyone, everywhere

Posted on : 2024-06-21 17:06 KST Modified on : 2024-06-21 17:06 KST
The genre has gained popularity across the world, not least in Russia
Members of the band GeneSiS dance while they record a one-take cover dance video, in a shopping mall in Moscow, Russia, Jan. 28, 2024. (Maxim Shemetov for Reuters)
Members of the band GeneSiS dance while they record a one-take cover dance video, in a shopping mall in Moscow, Russia, Jan. 28, 2024. (Maxim Shemetov for Reuters)

K-pop is growing in popularity among young people in Russia.

Sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine have made it harder to access Western cultural products, so Russian youth have been turning to East Asian countries — namely, Korea, Japan and China — for their entertainment.

Karina Marakshina, the founder of Gangnam Street Studio, Moscow’s first K-pop studio, has been watching K-pop move into the mainstream for Russian youth.

Marakshina said that when she started her studio, she had to describe what K-pop was because people had never heard of it before. But nowadays, she hears K-pop playing at most shopping malls.

A cover dance band performs during an event devoted to the Spring Festival, at a shopping mall in Khimki, on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia, Feb. 10, 2024. (Maxim Shemetov for Reuters)
A cover dance band performs during an event devoted to the Spring Festival, at a shopping mall in Khimki, on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia, Feb. 10, 2024. (Maxim Shemetov for Reuters)

Gangnam Street Studio began in 2016 with two groups at an auditorium she had to rent by the hour. But in 2024, thousands of pupils are studying at multiple studios in Moscow and other cities. GSS hosts big events such as annual concerts, as well as dance “battles.”

“K-pop is everywhere now, and it’s only gaining momentum,” Marakshina said in an interview with Reuters.

Polina Ivanovskaya, choreographer at the studio, stresses the “togetherness,” or sense of belonging, that K-pop dance gives its participants. The inclusive group nature of dance has grabbed people’s attention and made K-pop trendy.

A cover dance group records a video in an underground parking lot in Moscow, Russia. (Maxim Shemetov for Reuters)
A cover dance group records a video in an underground parking lot in Moscow, Russia. (Maxim Shemetov for Reuters)

K-pop dance teams shoot videos in public places such as shopping malls and parking lots, amusing passersby and sparking their curiosity. Posted online, those videos have helped spread K-pop around the country.

For Russian young people, K-pop dancing isn’t just a form of self-expression. It gives the sense of belonging to a bigger community composed of K-pop stars and their fans.

“What I like about this [dance] trend is that you dance as a whole group. You feel the togetherness of a group of people,” Ivanovskaya said.

Choreographer Polina Ivanovskaya (back center) leads a dance class at a branch of GSS K-pop studios in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 2, 2024. (Maxim Shemetov for Reuters)
Choreographer Polina Ivanovskaya (back center) leads a dance class at a branch of GSS K-pop studios in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 2, 2024. (Maxim Shemetov for Reuters)

By Park Seung-hwa, senior staff writer; photos courtesy of Reuters. 

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

 

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