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    On July 25th, 2021, ED hosted an Artist Class with LEE GIKWANG of HIGHLIGHT! He taught the choreography for his new song "NOT THE END" and answered a few questions that his students submitted at the end of the class. For this predebut, we wanted to share the Q&A with you all. LEE GIKWANG said many inspirational things that we hope you'll enjoy and find helpful!  Question: What motivated you the most to work hard in order to achieve your dream? Answer (LEE GIKWANG): Serena from the US sent me this question. What motivated me to work hard to achieve my dream? I think it would be you all, my fans who are here with me right now. It's the weekend, a day off, and time is not something you can hold onto. All of you who took this precious time to come see me and take this class with me are my biggest motivation. Even though it's virtual, collaborating with you all like this, being able to see your smiling faces, and seeing you having fun is making me genuinely so happy. Are you all happy? Good—I see you watching me while eating or looking at your phones. I hope you're all having a good time.  Q: People say that you're good at power control. What do you think about it? A: Sehee from Korea asked me this next question. Hmm, I don't think that I'm really fantastic, but I guess I just practice a lot. The more I do, a song that felt fast feels slower to me and this gives me some breathing room, which then helps my body learn where to emphasize and where to let go a bit, where I should stop or give a little fast and slow, shall I say? So whatever the choreography might be, I do my best to practice really hard. This helps you dance with your own unique style with great, natural strength control without even realizing it. With things you do with your body, the more you do that thing with your body, the better you inevitably become. I hope that was a good answer.  Q: When you're having a rough time, what is one thing that you look at to remind yourself that what you're doing now is definitely worth it? A: Miwmiw from Thailand asked this question. This, too, I'm not just saying empty words—interacting with you all and seeing your smiling faces, and when you feel our music and dance and receive it so happily, and put that down in writing and that feeling gets across to me. That's when I feel so happy. That's when I feel alive, and think that becoming a singer was such a good decision. So I hope that the pandemic will end soon and I can give you my energy in person, not virtually, and receive your energy as well at a performance—not just me, but the other members want this as well, and I imagine all other singers probably dream of this. You are my treasure!  Here's a highlight video of the artist class and hope you enjoyed this Q&A session!  With Love, ED Team
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    How to dance better in heels
    One of the hallmarks of KPOP performances is the flawless choreographies danced in heels. KPOP idols make it look so effortless while it is difficult for many people to even walk in heels. How do they do it?  Though the trend in KPOP has moved away from dancing in heels as many idols now perform in platform boots, sneakers, or other relatively more comfortable shoes, today we brought you some tips on how you can dance in heels without too much pain and look great doing it.  Hopefully you already know that you should warm up and stretch before dancing to prepare your muscles and prevent injuries—this routine should include your feet and calves. When you wear heels, you put a lot of pressure and weight on the muscles in your feet and calves, so it is important to warm up those areas before dancing. Here are a few stretches you can do: 1. Grab a towel or an elastic band and put it under the arch of your foot. Hold the ends and gently pull it towards you. You should feel your calf muscles stretching. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat a few times on each foot.  2. Pick up a small object with your toes. We used a bottle cap here, but you can also use a marble or a pebble if you have one. This flexes your toes and the balls of your feet, which are areas that support a lot of weight when you're wearing heels. Practice picking it up and putting it down.  3. Bring your heel up! You can stand against a chair and support yourself with your hands and arms for this one. Slowly raise yourself up on your tiptoes like in the picture, then lower back down. Repeat a few times.  4. Roll your arch. For this stretch, you will need a round object to roll your arch against. We used a bottle, but you can also use a foot foam roller if you have one, a tennis ball, or a golf ball. Simply press your foot against the round object and roll it on a flat surface for a minute or two on each foot.  In addition to these stretches, the type of shoes you choose is important. It's best if you can find a pair of shoes with some ankle support, especially if the choreography you will be doing is more powerful and upbeat. If you choose to wear pumps that are more open in the front, you can do what many female KPOP idols do and simply tape the shoes to your feet for added stability. You should also make sure that your shoes aren't too slippery so that you don't fall and hurt your ankles. If you aren't used to walking or dancing in heels, choosing heels that are too high can be dangerous, so you should keep that in mind as well. Finally, pay attention to your posture! When you put on heels, you will be inclined to lean your weight forward, which creates an unstable pose and puts more pressure on the balls and toes of your feet. Instead, you need to engage your core and pull your center of gravity up your torso to relieve your knees and feet of some of your body weight. Roll your shoulders back, straighten your legs, and lead your steps with your hips. Did we mention that you should keep your core engaged? For reference, watch this performance of BABE by HyunA, paying attention to the posture of HyunA and the dancers, especially when they are taking steps forward. They don't lean their weight forward and lead their steps with their hips, which makes them look fierce and confident in their sky-high heels. Your core needs to be constantly engaged to achieve this! We hope that this was helpful if you want to learn to dance better in heels. Just make sure that you're stretching properly and not putting too much stress on your feet to ensure that your feet and legs stay healthy! Always remember that safety is the most important thing and be careful when you are dancing in high heels.  With love, ED Team  
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    Some hard-to-translate Korean phrases that stumped our interpreter during ED artist classes
    We have a special mini Korean lesson today: four hard-to-translate Korean phrases. If you took any of our Artist Classes, you might be familiar with at least one of them, because these were all things that our Artist Class teachers said during class that stumped Robin, our interpreter!  EUNHYUK of SUPER JUNIOR: House Party "죽이 되든 밥이 되든": EUNHYUK said this during class as a word of motivation. In English, literally translated, it means "whether it becomes porridge or rice." Can you guess what it means? It's a figure of speech in Korean that means you should try and start a new thing or take action about something even if you don't know whether the result will be good. When you're making rice, if you mess it up and add too much water or cook it for too long, it might turn into porridge or congee instead of rice, but you don't know that until you try it! That's what this phrase means.  Q of THE BOYZ: KINGDOM COME "제기차기": This is a traditional Korean game that has no direct equivalent in anglophone countries (at least that we know of), so there's no translation for it. Watch this video to see what it is:  제기 (je-gi) is the object that you kick when you play this game, and you can easily make it by tying strips of paper or plastic around a few coins. 차기 (cha-gi) means "kicking." The movement is similar to when you're kicking a soccer ball in place in the air. This is a move that's used in a few KPOP choreographies, notably Genie by Girl's Generation. Watch the part below:  Q also used this word to describe a dance move while he was teaching his choreography class. Other than a dance move, 제기차기 is also a fun game you can play by making a simple 제기 yourself. Why don't you try it out?  BAEKHYUN of EXO: Bambi "여운이 남는다": "여운" (yeo-oon) itself is a word that doesn't have a direct equivalent in English. It means something similar to "lingering sentimentality," "emotional afterglow," or "lasting impression." The word "여운" is also rarely used outside of this specific phrase. "남는다" means remain or last, so "여운이 남는다" can be translated roughly to something like "there is a lasting (or remaining) sentimentality." Think of it like a pleasant emotional aftertaste that you feel in the aftermath of something. It took us an entire paragraph to explain this phrase: you can see how it was very difficult for Robin to translate this on the spot!  KAI of EXO: Mmmh "날로 먹는다": This phrase literally means "eat raw," and you can use it literally to mean you're eating something (fish, meat, etc.) raw as well. KAI used it figuratively, which then refers to putting in no effort and achieving or doing something. It's often used in a slightly derogatory way: you might use the phrase to criticize someone who's doing something with low effort, such as when someone does not do their job correctly.  KAI said this near the end of part 2 of the class, when he said that by learning two choreography elements, you are learning half the song. As he used it in this context, 날로 먹는다 meant that it's not so difficult to learn the choreography for Mmmh because you can learn half the song if you just learn two things. Do you agree? If you want to learn or review the song, you can watch a performance clip by the original choreographer, our instructor Mihawk Back.  Today we looked at a few advanced Korean phrases together. These words and phrases are commonly used in everyday spoken Korean, so they are quite useful to learn! We hope you enjoyed this Predebut :D With Love, ED Team  
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    History of KPOP 4: aespa, ITZY, ATEEZ, TXT and more!
    It might be a little early to discuss the fourth generation of KPOP, but we'll give it a shot in today's predebut. People often refer to the fourth generation to distinguish the now well-established third-generation artists from the more recently debuted artists. This gap is also created by the fact that many third-generation male artists are now going into the military and taking hiatuses, and two of the "big three" companies (JYP, SM) have debuted new girl groups after their second-generation girl groups.  Girl groups who are usually said to be the fourth-generation groups include aespa, ITZY, EVERGLOW, Secret Number, and more. Many of these groups have strong online presences abroad as well as in Korea, and are trying increasingly creative concepts. aespa is especially known for their futuristic and revolutionary "SM Cinematic Universe" and having virtual "members." Check out SMCU episode 1, "Black Mamba" below:  Some boy groups who are considered to be the fourth generation include TXT, Stray Kids, TREASURE, and ATEEZ. Check out the music video below for Levanter by Stray Kids:  If you like this choreography, you can learn it through our on-demand class on our website! We have an easy version and a hard version.  Who is your favorite fourth-generation KPOP idol, and who are you most looking forward to in the future? We'd love to hear!  
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    History of KPOP 3: BTS, EXO, BLACKPINK, TWICE, Red Velvet and more!
    For today's predebut, we're here to talk about the third generation of KPOP. We want to start out with a disclaimer that the third-generation KPOP artists we talk about in this predebut are all still very much active, and this is not an era of KPOP that is over in the past.  Typically, when people refer to the third generation of KPOP, they are referring to the period roughly between 2011 and 2018. This includes a wide range of groups such as BTS, EXO, iKON, GOT7, and the iconic girl group trifecta of BLACKPINK, TWICE, and Red Velvet. (Of course, this is not a complete list!) This era is characterized by the rise of social media and the dominance of YouTube, and KPOP adjusted accordingly. Artists were also trying out slightly more experimental concepts. Although KPOP was already popular among fan bases in Asia, after the massive global success of "Gangnam Style" by PSY in 2012, KPOP gained explosive popularity around the world.  There are multiple third generation male artists who became international top stars, BTS perhaps the best known among them. When EXO released "Growl" in 2013, it instantly became a huge hit and propelled them to superstardom. Since then, EXO has been continuously active as a group, subunits, and solo artists. ED has hosted Artist Classes with KAI and BAEKHYUN for their solo songs! Watch "Growl" below 👇 There are many third-generation KPOP artists, but it's fair to say that the "big three" trifecta is the most famous among them, consisting of BLACKPINK from YG, TWICE from JYP, and Red Velvet from SM.Notably, BLACKPINK became a phenomenon even before their debut when they released a dance practice video as a predebut group of four YG trainees. The video went instantly viral, escalating excitement for their debut, and their popularity has only increased since. The four most followed KPOP idols on Instagram are the four BLACKPINK members! Watch their music video for "DDU-DU DDU-DU" below, which has more than 1.6 billion views on YouTube: Bonus feature: watch this iconic music video for "Naughty" by Irene and Seulgi of Red Velvet, choreographed by Jae and Spella! You can take their "Naughty" tutting class on our website.  Do you have a third-generation bias? Tell us all about it by simply responding to this blog on Instagram! We hope you enjoyed this Predebut article! Click HERE to go onto the next chapter: History of KPOP 4 With love, ED Team