SEOUL, South Korea – Dozens of children rehearse after their instructor’s dance moves to K-pop group NCT Dream’s latest song “Hot Sauce,” as sweat trickles down their browbones.
K-pop’s growing global presence – and subsequent success – in the music industry has led to national recognition in South Korea of ââK-pop as a potential growth industry, alongside semiconductors. and IT as South Korea has proven to be competitive globally.
When K-pop boy group BTS topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts last summer with their all-English debut single “Dynamite,” South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism released a report on analysis estimating that the economic ripple effect of the song “Dynamite” alone has brought in up to $ 1.5 billion for the country.
âThe technical innovation of online concerts and the growing fandom of K-pop will have a strong economic impact. When the K-pop industry grows, it inevitably leads to a need for more jobs in the industry. industry, “Park Chanuk of the Korean Institute of Culture and Tourism’s Cultural Industry Research Center, told ABC News.
With prospects brighter than ever, parents, and even schools, are now jumping on the bandwagon for a potentially promising career opportunity for their children. Parents who are waiting for their kids’ K-pop dance class to finish at Shine Dance Academy in Gangnam say their boys and girls deserve a chance to experience their talents early on.
âI think if my son wanted to be a K-pop star, I’d love to see that,â Xing Mei, a Chinese mom who was a fan of first-generation K-pop group HOT, told ABC News. film her son throughout the class. “But it’s up to him to decide if he gets there or not.”
Another parent told ABC News he saw a lot of potential for the K-pop industry in the world and wanted to give his son all the possibilities open, including the possibility of becoming a celebrity in the world. K-pop like BTS, Blackpink and EXO.
“I think the outlook has changed a lot in less than 10 years,” Calvin Kang, father of a 9-year-old boy, told ABC News. âA lot of parents didn’t want their kids to be performers in the past, but now, after the success of K-pop, I think a lot of parents are introducing their kids to K-pop dancing and singing.â
The Shine Dance Academy, which claims to be the first and largest children’s K-pop dance academy in South Korea, explained that more and more children have shown interest in their program after the success of BTS in the world market.
âParents are really serious about this,â dance teacher Joe Song told ABC News. “It doesn’t come cheap having kids taking K-pop dance lessons from a young age, and it takes that commitment from both kids and parents to do it.”
The accelerating popularity of K-pop even prompted schools to create classes for their students.
Kwangchon High School, a small school of only 76 students in the rural town of Chungnam Province, quickly adapted to this growing demand and, with the permission of the Chungnam Province Education Bureau, the school restructured its curriculum to specialize in “all things K-pop” – even renaming the school as High School of Korean Pop and Performing Arts.
Here, teens take lessons such as musical instruments, live performance practices, second language and concert exercises which are considered essential to be on their way to becoming a featured artist.
âThe goal is not to feed K-pop celebrities,â K-pop high school principal Park Boyung Gyu told ABC News. “Our goal is to empower students to find their strengths so that they can participate in the millions of job opportunities surrounding the globally expanding K-pop industry.”
The High School of Korean Pop and Performing Arts has received more than $ 10 million in investments in its facilities from its local government and education offices.
The Chungnam Province Education Bureau paid for the school’s transition expenses to K-pop as well as the new instruments in the hope that the school will become a landmark for K-pop by South Korea. All classes, including professional K-pop dance and songwriting classes using music editing software, are free at the school and the 124 participating students only need to pay for their dorm and their fees. commute to work.
“Given the unlimited potential of the K-pop industry, we are investing in the school with the hope that the city will become the workforce training mecca for the growing K-pop industry,” Jeong Dae-hoe, deputy commissioner of the Chungnam Province Education Bureau, told ABC News.
More than a dozen universities in South Korea that taught classical music and dance are beginning to embrace K-pop as part of their formal education curriculum, as an increasing number of younger generations aim to be part of the multi-billion dollar industry. in order to train young talents who could possibly occupy positions of producers, composers, choreographers or production staff.
“There is greater added value to K-pop, not only from the music and content itself, but from the impact of K-pop on the products and services provided by general companies,” said K-pop columnist Kim Hern-sik told ABC News. “K-pop also has a positive effect on South Korea’s branding, resulting in an economic effect that cannot be calculated.”
ABC News’ Joohee Cho and Hyun Soo Kim contributed to this report.