K-Pop Fans Are Multiplying, And They're More Diverse Than You Think
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K-Pop Fans Are Multiplying, And They're More Diverse Than You Think

"I love that K-Pop is becoming something that people of all backgrounds enjoy."


About 106 people attended the KBS Dance Team's learning day for Korean pop music, the largest crowd to ever attend the event for the cultural phenomenon quickly gaining international popularity.

This semester's learning day showed a huge climb from the 43 people that attended in the spring of 2019 and only 12 people attending in both the spring and fall of 2017.

KBS Dance Team held the event on September 4th to teach popular Korean pop, or K-Pop, choreographies and recruit new dancers with a passion for the genre known for its colorful and theatrical dance routines. As the clock approached 8:30PM, dozens of people lined up outside of the Tabler Black Box at Stony Brook University.

And by the looks of the people walking in, K-Pop really isn't just for people who can speak Korean.

"The crowd was so diverse," exclaimed Keeley Dehart, one of the managers of the dance team. "Most people varied in both year and ethnicity."

Nicole Lombino, director of KBS Dance Team, said, "I love that K-Pop is becoming something that people of all backgrounds enjoy."

According to Jeff Benjamin, a K-Pop Columnist at Billboard, K-Pop fans are often stereotyped, most commonly as the teenage fangirl. "It's not just screaming girls," Benjamin said. "I've had bosses and editors who are like, 'Isn't it just people from Korea reading it?'" he continued. "Like, no. You don't sell all these albums, all these tickets, if it's just in Korea."

And he's right. As of this week, K-Pop artists take up 10 out of 15 spots on Billboard's World Album Chart. And since 2016, 17 K-Pop acts have entered Billboard's Social 50 list. BTS has held the number one spot for the last 143 weeks. Julianna Richards, a manager of the dance team, credits the growing popularity of K-Pop for the large turnout at the event.

Those who attended the dance team's learning day had different reasons for attending.

Kaylee Hotaling, a freshman who attended the learning day, said, "I wanted to become a part of the team because I learn K-Pop dances in my free time as a stress reliever."

Jooyoung Lee, a sophomore, said, "I watched videos of the dance team and they motivated me to try dancing. Learning day became an opportunity for that."

Regardless of background, anyone was welcome to learn dances and feel like a K-Pop celebrity for a couple of hours. Lombino said, "Watching K-Pop performances makes you wish you were a K-Pop star and that's essentially what we're trying to do at KBS."

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