Rotorua teen and dance machine Ngatahi Webster-Tarei's talent, hard work and long hours of practice will be featured in an upcoming television show.
K-Pop Academy is back, and Season 2 has twice as many dancing, singing and rapping K-Pop recruits to train up.
The show is presented by dancer, choreographer and dance instructor Rina Chae, and her team audition and then train up more than 50 tweens and teens into eight unique teams.
Combining the best from the lower regions, there is Team South including Rotorua member Ngatahi Webster-Tarei, 14.
Ngatahi says she found the experience cool and interesting, as she got to learn more about a different culture and meet new people.
"I learnt how to critique my moves properly and make my moves bigger."
She says as part of K-Pop Academy, they had a boot camp for about a week in Auckland, performed to different audiences, competed in competitions and practised for long hours to get their moves right.
"We had to send in an audition video to Rina and then we had callbacks, travelling to Auckland to audition again, and then I was chosen to be in the academy.
"I was very happy and I was shocked because I thought I wouldn't make it in."
She says she is nervous to watch herself on the show.
Ngatahi says she started getting into K-Pop in 2017 from an older cousin, and has been into it ever since - "I like the dancing and how they interact with each other".
She says her favourite K-Pop group is BTS.
"I like the messages they say through their songs to love yourself, how they are all family, and the music's catchy and the dancing is cool."
She's been dancing since she was 2, and Ngatahi says she's learnt lyrical, ballet, contemporary, jazz, voguing, and waacking, but her main dance style is hip-hop.
She dances three times a week, now dancing for her school - Rotorua Girls' High School - in different competitions.
When asked what she loves about dancing, she said, "I can express myself through it, let out all of my energy, and it's fun."
From the north, five girls make up Team Dargaville, as well as a team from St Cuthbert's, and a girl power gang from Central Auckland.
Across the harbour bridge are Team Carmel – plus a couple of boys - while a girl
army make up Team North Shore.
Venturing out west are Team West, and proving that dynamite comes in small packages, a vibrant group of younger kids are selected to form a group called Team Minis.
Utilising the skills of stars from K-Pop Academy Season 1, leadership roles are allocated to help the 'newbies' learn their stuff to a new batch of catchy K-Pop tunes with dance moves choreographed by Rina Chae and her talented dance assistants - David Fung, Jasmine Brokken, Alexandra Page, Sarah Reece and Anton Pulefale.
There is also vocal coach Turanga Merito, from Rotorua, who takes charge of preparing the singers and rappers to be ready to record their vocals.
Throughout the K-Pop Academy journey, back stories of some of the new K-Pop stars are shared, discovering the source of their inspiration.
The teams take part in a seven-day boot camp where their dances, songs and raps are fine tuned to be performance ready, and they undergo styling to create superstar costumes that match the vibe of each of their songs.
They're taught how to create a K-pop makeup look, get to take part in photo shoot and shoot music videos that will be released on Instagram - @kpop.academy.nz - in sync with the music tracks being released on TikTok, Spotify and iTunes.
The series culminates with a finale at The Pumphouse Theatre when all groups get to compete against each other on the big stage in front of their whānau, friends and an international judge from South Korea.
Alongside the eight episodes are eight tutorials, where Rina and dancers from each group break down and demonstrate each dance so you can learn it at home.
K-Pop Academy is funded by NZ On Air and will be released on HeiHei on TVNZ OnDemand in August 2021.