“TELL your story.”
“I don’t have one,” Alina Dempsey, 13, whispers back to her mother, at the start of her interview about how she has been accepted into a national K-Pop ‘boot camp’.
Alina is shy at first and lets her mother Kerrie speak for her, but grows more talkative when the topic focuses on her love for Korean Pop.
The Mount Isa schoolgirl was accepted into The Academy Australia’s week-long program, which begins on Sunday in Brisbane. The Academy held auditions across Australia and online and accepted 40 trainees.
Alina was revealed to be The Academy’s first Australian Indigenous trainee when it posted a Youtube video of her audition.
“I’m happy because I got in but I’m also really nervous because I’m rooming with people I don’t know, because they are from different parts of Australia,” Alina said.
“We have dance classes that switch between vocal lessons, those go all day, media training, diets. Since they are all trainers from a company (they will say) how hard it is to get into a company and (in) doing the training.”
Ms Dempsey said there would also be industry scouts from South Korea at the boot camp.
Alina has trained at the Mount Isa School of Dance for seven years. While she trains in other styles her friends encourage her to sneak in some K-Pop moves when they practice.
What Alina has learned of K-Pop is everything she could repeat from Youtube videos. It is what helped her through the successful audition.
“I will watch dance practices 10 times and then I will catch onto the choreography,” she said.
One of the first K-Pop songs that Alina heard was Psy’s Gangnam Style. The video was published in July, 2012. The video went gangbusters (or gangnam busters) across the world and until this year had the most watched views on Youtube with almost three billion clicks.
“And then I found more groups and other different dances and that’s what caught me at first,” Alina said.
“And then the vocals, since the males can get really high pitched.
“K-Pop is really catchy.”
Alina focused more on the dancing side of K-Pop – having stopped singing in primary school. After the boot camp she was keen to pursue opportunities.
“Dad said ‘you can go to all the workshops and stuff but you can’t go to Korea,’” Alina said.
Ms Dempsey remembered when Alina first told her parents about an audition offer that was available in South Korea. “If I get chosen we have to go straight away,” Ms Dempsey remembered Alina pitching.
“And Dad said ‘no, we’re not going over there. You can do anything you like in Australia but you’re not going out of Australia,’” Ms Dempsey said.
Alina will attend a Korean themed conference, KCon, in Sydney for two days before the boot camp. Besides dancing KCon will also feature fashion and food.