Idol Dreams

Young­sters turn to train­ing in a bid for star­dom

Beijing Review - - CULTURE - By Wei Yao

Wu Qingli, a 19-year-old from Hong Kong, be­gan danc­ing when she was very young and was once a part-time model while learn­ing pho­tog­ra­phy in ju­nior col­lege. Be­cause she was fond of idol-type train­ing pro­grams in South Ko­rea, the idea of be­ing part of one be­gan to cropped up two years ago.

Wu now hopes to achieve her dream through a low-thresh­old path open to or­di­nary peo­ple like her­self. She found the Man­age­ment of New Arts (MNA), an en­ter­tain­ment bro­ker­age com­pany, through its mi­croblog and made a de­ci­sion to come to Bei­jing in May af­ter learn­ing more about the com­pany. At first, her par­ents showed no sup­port, but Wu was clear and firm on her de­ci­sion. “The cir­cle in Hong Kong was too small, with lim­ited op­por­tu­ni­ties, so I had to come to Bei­jing,” she said.

De­spite the huge amount of such bro­ker­age com­pa­nies in Bei­jing, MNA is among the few that have their own fixed sites and present pub­lic per­for­mances ev­ery sea­son. With a wave of va­ri­ety shows sweep­ing China, the so-called trainee sys­tem, a model of cre­at­ing stars that orig­i­nated in Ja­pan and South Ko­rea, is boom­ing in China. The sys­tem is meant to mould new stars from a se­lec­tion of or­di­nary peo­ple through sev­eral months or even years of train- ing. In Ja­pan and South Ko­rea, where it is al­ready ma­ture, the idol in­dus­try is of high eco­nomic value. Ac­cord­ing to Iincn.com, the out­put value of the in­dus­try in South Ko­rea was more than 30 bil­lion yuan ($4.3 bil­lion) in 2016. It is pre­dicted that by 2020, China’s idol in­dus­try will be worth 100 bil­lion yuan ($14.4 bil­lion).

Ac­cord­ing to Wu, the life of a trainee in Bei­jing is not as dif­fi­cult as in South Ko­rea and at least the com­pe­ti­tion is less fierce. Wu takes an av­er­age of four classes a day from Mon­day to Fri­day, with ev­ery class last­ing two hours. The com­pany will con­tin­u­ously re­ar­range classes ac­cord­ing to ev­ery­one’s monthly per­for­mance

Trainees from the Man­age­ment of New Arts dance at a pub­lic per­for­mance on Au­gust 20 in Bei­jing

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