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Outlandish makeup, stylish and flamboyant costumes, whacky dance moves, neon-bright colours and lots of bling—these might be the first visions some people get when they hear the word, K-Pop. And if they heard that the Australian National University (ANU) has a K-Pop Club, the perception would probably not be much different.
And yet….surprise! Meet the ANU Korean Pop Culture (ANU K-Pop Club), a group that’s really breaking the stereotypes. It’s a highly professional, organised and well-oiled machine dedicated to all things to do with Korean popular culture, not just ‘fluffy’ pop music.
Founded in 2014, thanks to the passion of some K-pop fans, the club has more than 300 members today, not just from ANU but also from other universities, both undergrads and postgrads. The club also welcomes non-university enthusiasts who live in Canberra. According to the club’s President, Candida Monteiro, the age profile of their existing membership base ranges from 12 to 35!
“I was really into K-Pop when I was in high school but I had few friends where I grew up who were into K-Pop. When I came to ANU, I really wanted to meet other people who also liked K-Pop so my sister encouraged me to start a K-Pop Club. There was already a Korean club at ANU at the time (the then Korean Students Society) but it was mostly focused on Korean students not foreigners interested in Korean culture. So I found the ANUSA guidelines for how to start a club, followed the admin and started K-Pop club in October 2014. So that was at the end of my first year, and then we officially launched our club at the beginning of 2015 at Market Day.” – Afeeya Khan, Founding Member, ANU K-Pop Club
It was an opportunity to set up a common forum and platform for creative outlet, a way for people with similar passions to come together and do something fun together.
“I became involved in a K-Pop club back in 2013 in Sydney. In high school (2011/12), there wasn’t a community of people that were passionate about K-Pop and Korean culture. K-Pop was still extremely foreign and it wasn’t even as popular amongst the Australian Asian community. So I felt quite alone and I was made fun of for expressing how much I loved K-Pop. I had always danced since I was 9, so K-Pop dancing was always something I loved. I didn’t have any friends when I moved to Sydney, so I found joining clubs and societies to be the best way to meet people. From then on I was exposed to a group of people who had the same strong interests as me and we became lifelong friends. When I moved back to Canberra in 2015 I was purely looking to teach dance and perform as I had become less of an active fan. But I also ended up finding a new circle of friends who I have become close with. Despite having graduated and starting work, the club still serves its purpose of providing me with a community and gives me the opportunity to continue dancing.” – Kilau Setanggi, Member and Founder, K-Rush (ANU K-Pop Club dance group)
Members meet weekly, but there’s a strong online community going for constant communication and sharing of K-Pop passion. On offer for members and non-members alike is a vibrant potpourri of Korean pop culture—weekly K-Pop dance classes, live performances, Korean-language classes, student welcome parties, Korean movie screenings, and events related to Korean beauty, fashion, and all-you-can eat food fests. The club’s performance group has previously headlined at the Canberra Moon Festival, GammaCon, and various ANU-hosted events such as Asia Pacific Week for the College of Asia and the Pacific, and ANU Open Day.
Korean Film Screening with ANU
Semester 1 Welcome Party
Their performances on popular hits Boom Boom and Black Dress are ever-popular, but they like to mix it up with something new each time, says the club’s Performance Director, Harriet Lodge.
Curious to see them live in action? Well, you won’t have to wait long, because they’ll be performing on Friday, 6 September as part of the Innovative Language Education Symposium, which is the School of Culture, History & Language (CHL)’s flagship event scheduled for 5–7 September. You can see the program details here.
ANU K-Pop Club membership card
And once you’ve shaken a leg at the live show, if you’re ready to become a member, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The club has its very own membership card and rates, as well as access to member discounts from their official sponsors, which include Chatime, Mookie, KORBQ, Gami Chicken and Beer, Cielo, Seoulflower, Along with Cielo and Koji Collection!
Membership: $5 for ANU students $7 for non-ANU students Membership can be purchased at any of our events or online at https://anukpopmembership.getqpay.com.
We’ll leave you with some exciting footage of the Club in action. Happy K-Popping!
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