Aspiring K-Pop stars dedicate years of grueling training to even get a chance at fame, and a popular ex-trainee recently pulled back the curtain on the intense schedule trainees undertake while preparing to debut with a major Korean entertainment company like SM Entertainment.
The trainee — now a popular TikTok influencer — Bianca Zhou, revealed her daily schedule spanned 1 PM to 10 PM, Monday through Saturday, with most trainees waking up early to attend school or get in extra practice. The comprehensive curriculum is designed to shape them into multifaceted performers.
1. Dance Classes
The dance training is intense and diverse, according to Bianca. Trainees must master various styles, including Hip Hop, Whacking, and K-Pop dance. However, a significant emphasis is placed on ballet. Ballet’s incorporation into a K-pop idol’s training may raise eyebrows, but it’s a strategic choice. Ballet’s strict discipline and focus on technique form a strong foundation for other dance forms. It enhances a dancer’s posture, flexibility, and strength, which are vital for the intricate choreography of K-Pop performances.
2. Singing Classes
As for singing, trainees at SM Entertainment, known for its focus on vocal prowess, are put through the paces across multiple genres. This ensures that when they debut, they can handle the vocal challenges of any song, whether it’s ballads, pop, R&B, or more experimental musical forms that K-Pop is known for.
3. Style, Personality, and Posture Classes
Perhaps the most unexpected elements of a trainee’s schedule are the style, personality, and posture classes. To the casual observer, these might seem excessive. However, in the highly visual world of K-Pop, where idols are expected to exude charisma and fashion sense both on and off stage, such training is crucial. Posture classes, in particular, ensure that trainees present themselves with the grace and confidence befitting a public figure.
— fei (@woozinism) May 19, 2021
4. Acting Classes
Acting classes play a significant role in a trainee’s development. These sessions help trainees express a range of emotions and connect with their audience, not just through song and dance but also through music videos and perhaps even K-Drama debuts in the future.
red velvet acting like the rent was due, they are insane damn https://t.co/fETVTbG56t
— 🌸 (@zmzalabitch) November 5, 2023
5. Production Classes
Lastly, production classes round out the training schedule. Here, trainees learn about the technical aspects of music and video production, which is essential in an industry where idols are starting to take part in the creative process of their work more and more every day.
— riize pics (@riizepics) July 31, 2023
At the end of each week, trainees have personal evaluations with their coaches to track progress, culminating in a monthly evaluation akin to a report card from the company, according to Bianca.
With so many skills to develop, being an idol requires true dedication even before a trainee is able to make their debut. But with the worldwide popularity of K-Pop continuing to grow, the potential payoff for all those hours in the studio makes the grueling schedule worth it for some.