WW ’18: Behind the scenes of K-Pop


Pictured above are K-poppers Leon Rader and Abigail Calverley. WSPN looks behind the scenes of K-pop before their Winter Week performance.

Emma DiIanni and Nicole Erdekian

Every Winter Week, WHS’s “K-Poppers,” an all-grade dance group, performs a series of dance routines set to Korean pop music. With their performance coming up fifth block today, the club has been working to perfect their routines and prepare for the show.

The group lost multiple senior members from last year, leaving junior leaders Leon Rader and Clarissa Briasco-Stewart to prepare their club for their first performance of the year. Rader and Briasco-Stewart have been putting in months of planning to pull off the first big show, starting their practices right after the club fair in mid-September.

“We decided on the songs over the summer, but there’s been a lot of change since then because some songs just don’t work out with the number of people we have, and some people have [other] suggestions on songs they want to do,” Rader said.

Junior member Abigail Calverley explained how the club typically prepares for a performance.

“We typically practice Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We practice all the dances that we have. Before a performance, we stretch, and we just talk it out. Whenever somebody is anxious, we do our best to comfort them,” Calverley said.

This year, there has been an influx of new members. Their club now has a total of eight active members which consist of five juniors, two sophomores and one freshman.

“A lot of people come just because we make it a fun environment,” Rader said. “We’re all friends, we all love joking around with each other and we love the music, so it doesn’t seem like a chore.”

Creating the dances can be a long process, and coming up with the routines can be difficult.

“Clarissa typically picks out the music, and I have helped with the wardrobe and taught some of the dance moves,” Calverley said.

The K-Pop dancers explained that the music videos for each song usually have the corresponding choreography the members use in their dances.

“We usually watch videos and see the dances,” Rader said. “We’ll make up eight counts to the dances because that helps for some people, but when we get to know the dances a little bit more, we’ll do it at a slower speed on YouTube. We’ll then just drill it over and over again.”

Sometimes K-Pop struggles to finalize routines with such a range of skill throughout the group.

“Not everybody is at the same level of dancing. We typically just go for ‘whoever wants to be in gets to be in’ when deciding who is in which routine. Then we help teach the people who don’t know the moves as well how to do it and we speed it up gradually,” Calverley said.

Despite the challenges that go into preparing for performances, members find K-Pop to be a fun experience.

“I just really love the sense of community,” Calverley said. “I have made really great friends through K-Pop, and I’ve met a lot of nice new people as well this year. It’s just a great place for people who feel like they don’t want to be in that official of a club, or they just want to hang out after school.”

Click the logo for full coverage of Winter Week 2018.