2022 Newsfeed

Canberra’s K-Pop dance scene: a Q&A with K-RUSH’s Caitlin Gammage

Caitlin Gammage is a 24-year-old member of K-RUSH, ANU’s performance and dance section of their Korean Pop Culture Club. Known to the dancers as Caitie, she has recently stepped into a leadership position in the organisation. I sat down with her to learn a bit about her career in K-Pop, the workings of K-RUSH and just what the Canberra K-Pop scene is like.

A woman wearing a black hoodie with purple and blue hair standing against a white brick wall and smiling at the camera

Q: When did you get in to K-Pop?

A: It would have been in high school. I was at my first GammaCon and I heard a song, G by Girls Generation on the DDR machine, and asked people what that song was and looked it up. I fell slightly into that, grew out of it, and then I was at a friend’s party, and they put Fire by BTS on and I’ve been very much in the K-Pop rabbit hole since then. Collecting and knowing all the groups names and being a multi stan, being a fan of every single group that comes out right now.

Q: What got you so into K-Pop?

A: I think it’s because yes, they sing, but they also dance and do a whole bunch of variety shows. They care so much about their fans, it’s insane. With their albums and all that, you get a whole bunch of photo cards, you get so many included things. Also, the love they have for their fans, and how much the fans love them. I think just the connection that we don’t see as much with Western artists. It’s very different and I’ve found it refreshing.

5 dancers standing in a line wearing pastels and blues
During a dance showcase

Q: How did you find out about K-RUSH?

A: K-RUSH is the performance group of the ANU Korean Pop Culture Club, and the way that I found them was that I had done a workshop with them at GammaCon. We learnt Signal by TWICE and I absolutely loved it, I knew we needed to find out more and they said they did dance classes. I also really love watching dance covers, and I knew I wanted to do that, I just want to be part of a dance crew. We looked up what K-Pop groups and societies were in Canberra, and found a more expensive option, before finding ANU’s one. $3 for members and $5 for non-members, beginner friendly? Alright, let’s go.

Q: What drew you to K-RUSH as opposed to the other groups in Canberra?

A: They were very helpful and very friendly. I had been a member of the club for a few years, part of the club for 4 years now, K-RUSH I’ve only been for 2. I had been wanting to for a while, and I didn’t have the courage until some people at a K-RUSH dance class convinced me and said you should do it. But honestly, it’s the best decision yet. I’ve made so many great friends, very close friends, and honestly, they helped me through a tough time. I had just had a falling out with a friend and thought I was going to be alone, and they really helped. They helped with confidence as well, and obviously dance ability, I can dance a lot better than I used to.

3 dancers on both the right and left of 2 dancers in the middle (standing back to back). The outside dancers are framing the two in the middle. Everyone is dressed in pastel pinks, purples and whites.
Performance of Very Very Very by I.O.I

Q: How many people in K-RUSH don’t go to ANU, roughly?

A: There’s a few of us. I haven’t met everyone in K-RUSH, there are quite a few people. We do have new people now; we’re getting a lot of new people and it’s amazing. I can’t exactly say how many though because some people graduate, and they still stay with K-RUSH. The thing is, you don’t have to be a student to be part of the club or to be a part of K-RUSH, which is good.

Q: What are your favourite things about K-RUSH, class and group wise, as well as personally?

A: The inclusiveness and the encouragement. Helping each other out, especially when we don’t understand a move. But it’s more that we are a team, we all help each other grow, we all help each other make the performance the best it can be. The dance classes are beginner friendly, which is fun. Yeah, they can be stressful at moments, especially when we are preparing for something big, but the final product and just feeling like a family is the best thing about it.

Q: How has K-RUSH impacted your life?

A: Honestly, I love it. It gives me something to do. I go from work to K-RUSH, and everything involved in the group. I even stepped up this year and decided to be a gen rep for performance and dance. Because they’ve done so much for me, I want to be able to help them as much as I can because I’m that grateful for everything they’ve done for me.

6 people kneeling on the ground in front of 11 others, all wearing black t-shirts. In the hands of the front two kneeling on the ground is a light up letterboard that names the group as ANU KPOP Club.
ANU Korean Pop Culture Club’s executive members and gen reps 2022

Q: You said before that you’ve investigated the other K-Pop groups and events in Canberra, how many are there?

A: There is Project Beats, they do their own classes as well. There is the BTS Australian Canberra group, they do a lot of events as well. Slowly, there are more events starting to happen in Canberra, but there are other places, not just ANU K-Pop. You always just keep an eye out for K-nights especially because those are the ones that invite people to come out, dance and listen to some music.

Q: So, what does a normal dancing week look like for you?

A: It varies, so currently we’re just waiting for our rehearsals and rehearsal times. We fill out when we’re free during this period, and then we go mainly at night. We learn different choreography each week, and it changes from boy group to girl group. We get an hour to learn the choreo, so Liv our lovely dance director teaches us. If she’s not around, it’s usually Chelsey our performance director. They teach us the choreo, and then we film it. Within that hour! Within that hour we learn it, run it a little bit, film it and then it gets put up onto the YouTube channel. For dance practises, we go over to the school of music and practise up on the balcony or wherever we can around there. We do positions, we drill, we practise for an hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, depending on when everyone’s available. Sometimes not everyone is there, you just make do.

Q: So, you would do roughly 2 dance practises a week?

A: With the showcase that’s coming up it depends on how many dances you are in. For a normal dance cover, it would be 2 a week, 3 a week, it really depends on everyone’s availability.

A woman with a black hoodie on and blue and purple hair stands against a white brick wall, smiling at the camera and tossing her hair a little.

Q: What would you want people to know about Canberran K-Pop, like K-RUSH?

A: That we exist! Yes, there are little groups slowly forming in Canberra. In Melbourne and Sydney, there are so many dance crews that do K-Pop in public, you see them everywhere. Canberra is coming as well. The fact that K-Pop in general in Canberra is growing, every now and then I bump into someone who is part of a fandom that I am part of and I’m like oh my god, yes. It’s always good to just randomly find people. Slowly, our little K-Pop community is growing.

Photos by Yasemin Rogers