Be a K-pop star without leaving home
YOU do not have to be Korean - or even be in the country - to learn how to be a bona-fide K-pop star.
Hallyu fans can now join a "K-pop academy" in 18 countries around the world under a new programme by South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
They will be able to to learn iconic K-pop songs and pick up swanky dance moves epitomised by their idols.
The centres are scheduled to open gradually at 20 Korean cultural centres in 18 countries, including the United States, China and France.
The first, at the Korean Cultural Center in Shanghai, opened yesterday, said the ministry in a press release.
Other centres are in Thailand, India, Spain, Mexico, Turkey, Germany, Vietnam and Indonesia, among others.
This move is targeted at foreigners interested in Korean culture, with the aim to spread the "Korean Wave", said the government on Monday.
"It will help people around the world better understand Korea through various programmes for experiencing Korean culture," said Park Younggoog, chief of the Korean Culture and Information Service which is affiliated with the South Korean culture ministry.
Participants will pick up the moves from South Korea's top-level teaching staff at the K-pop academy, he added in a statement.
Professors from Sejong University and Howon University will conduct vocal and dance lessons. Shin Yeon Ah, a former member of R&B and soul female quartet Big Mama, which disbanded in 2012, will give vocal lessons at the Los Angeles academy.
Choi Jong Hoan, a first-generation B-boy in South Korea and former dance trainer in JYP Entertainment, will teach dance.
The courses will be held from this month to September.
Besides K-pop, the academy will also offer participants the chance to learn about Korean TV series and films, taste Korean food and experience trendy Korean make-up and nail art first-hand to help them better understand Korean culture, the ministry said.
One can sign up for elementary or intermediate-level courses at the overseas centres.
The elementary course, for instance, will cover general Korean culture, including dramas, movies and foods for one week. This is followed by singing for two weeks, dancing for two weeks and, finally, pop-music audition preparation for one week.
The ministry plans to expand the programme next year if it proves to be popular among foreigners.