By: LazerKim This article reveals Kim Hyun Joong’s secret on what goes on at the backstage while he performs his concerts. We enjoyed watching him on stage as he sings and dances, but we do not have a slightest idea what’s going on at the back stage. So let me fill in your curiosity by giving you an idea what goes on and I’ll keep this as informative as I can. I hope this can at least ease your boredom without Hyun Joong around!!!
In my article Star Dancer (Behind the Scene) Somebody asked, why do I know so much about Hyun Joong’s dance. This is quite easy, I have the same line of profession with Hyun Joong, the difference is I work behind the scene. I’ve been dancing all my life since childhood, started with ballet at eight till high school and switch to jazz in college. After college I pursued on studies of Stage Arts Production. I work as choreographer and producer in a Japanese show production agent based in Tokyo right after my studies.The company supplies professional artists, package shows to resort hotels, big events and concerts, including mobile stage equipment. What I have written in my article Star Dancer BTS are basic procedures in any show production preparation and it applies anywhere professionally.
This time let’s talk about the life on stage of any artist particularly dancers, these are actual backstage scenes that none of us is aware as audience. I’ll be pertaining to concerts that Hyun Joong hosted,what does an artist feels while he performs, what’s at the backstage during the show, what happens prior to the actual show ect. There’s a big difference between performing on a live stage concert and performing on TV.
On live stage there’s no “take two” whatever the outcome of Hyun Joong’s performance on that certain moment already marked, he can not undo anything. On TV performances specially recorded show with or without audience, all remedies can be done before airing. Therefore live shows has higher degree of pressures and tensions specially among production assistants working backstage. But Hyun Joong loves performing concert, the guy loves challenges.
Hyun Joong is a real artist that may content himself by simply applauding on his performance. Every artist has a pledge creed that says “no matter what happens the show must go on”. And being sick during a performance is not an excuse, unless of course if the artist is injured physically. But as long as an artist can still stand, walk and sing he has to go out there and perform. Singing does not create a big problem since he can perform in lip sync. All possible remedies shall be done just to push through with the show. I’ve seen a photo of Hyun Joong being injured during the show, I think he had leg cramp. This also happens the least you expect.
At least two hours prior to make up session before the show, a dancer should have at least two hours warm up, stretching routines to prevent locked muscles during the performance, before doing anything in preparation for the actual show. Dancers like Hyun Joong doesn’t just get himself on stage and dance, it’s nothing like that. Lack of warm up session causes muscle cramps during performance specially if the weather is cold. Since Hyun Joong sings while dancing he also has to vocalize and a shot of brandy or warm ginger sap will be good to his voice before stepping on stage.
Any discomfort occur during the performance, he has no choice but to endure until such time he exits to change costume for his next number. And this is also one reason why dress rehearsals is being done. Dancing in rehearsal outfit is very different from dancing with costumes. During dress rehearsals Hyun Joong makes sure he’s comfortable with all his costumes as he moves. Accidents do happen on stage too during the show, Hyun Joong was relating in one interview that he once had ripped his pants during the show with SS501. Those unexpected incidents can cause a lot of destruction and discomfort to any artist.
For a star artist like Hyun Joong, he has two dressing rooms, one is the main dressing room which is much further to the stage, where all his costumes are placed and make up sessions are done in the main room. And one area located at the nearest stage wing, all quick changes are done in this area. In every corner of the back stage a poster of show sequence guide is being posted for Hyun Joong and the rest of the production staffs. There’s a TV monitor in every corner of the back stage and at Hyun Joong’s dressing room, so as the staffs will be aware of the on-going show. Every production staffs and assistants stay alert in every second of the show.
In costume quick changes, since Hyun Joong performs the entire show there are techniques in quick changes. Costumes are arranged according to the show sequence and are placed at the dressing area nearest to the stage or at the stage wing, at least an hour or two before the show starts. The designated PA (production assistant) has all the list of specific costume, accessories and everything Hyun Joong needs for the show. After Hyun Joong has completely dressed up, PA shall wire him with his head set monitor and microphone, making sure it’s properly installed.
The longest time he stays backstage is 2 mins.to 3min regardless of which type of costume he change into, he’s given 2mins. to do it.. a team of production assistants are there to assist him in dressing up and refresh. As a general rule to all artists, before he can take a breather upon his exit he immediately change costume before he can take a breather and refresh, retouch make up ect. During technical dress rehearsal even PA of Hyun Joong rehearse with him to familiarize themselves on how they can assist Hyun Joong, which comes first in dressing him up, everything has to be systematic.
At the main stage, there’s a monitor right in front of Hyun Joong located at the foot lights area, scrolling details of the show sequence, stating which song number would be next and stating when he has to exit and change his costume. There are instances that artist needed a lyric guide of the songs they sing, and it appears on that monitor too. Every time Hyun Joong makes his exit to the backstage is the most crucial moment for any production staff, there’s his costume quick change, lighting adjustments, props installation ect. and all of these are done in complete 2mins. Everything is being fed to Hyun Joong for his comfort to achieve a perfect show.
At the back stage during the show no one talks everybody moves specially when Hyun Joong makes his exit to prepare for his next number. Everything and everybody is systematic in every move they make. At MAMA during the performance of Girl’s Generation, one of the members dropped her boa feathers on stage at the beginning part of their number. Small mistakes or accident such at that can be destructive not only to the audience but to the artist as well. So far so good Hyun Joong haven’t experienced such accident.
With technical lighting and effects, everything is computerized and a manual back up in case of power or technical problem occur. There are luminous marks on the stage floors that Hyun Joong has to follow where he should stand specially on number he perform by himself without his back up dancers. In auditoriums the control area is located at back of the audience gallery. In concerts that Hyun Joong performs everything is mobile set up, in which control area is located halfway from the stage to the end of the gallery. Hyun joong’s stage blocking with his dancers is essential to avoid traffic jam on stage, this is done during technical rehearsals together with the light and effects.
Hyun Joong mentioned that the most difficult period in his singing career starts with his album promotion. A star singer artist is very likely to host a concert as a part of his album promotion depending on his principal sponsor. Everything that I mentioned above has to be rehearsed two or three days prior to the concert schedule.
Hyun Joong is a veteran when it comes to performing concerts, but he religiously follow the preparation sequence together with all the production staffs. Normally technical rehearsals takes the whole day till dawn until everything is set to perfection. Hyun Joong endures with long hours of rehearsals and it’s not that easy for a one or two-hour show performed by himself. Not to mention Hyun Joong is a perfectionist even he has a designated concert director he makes the call. Simply because it’s his show and his reputation at stake. He’s very careful in his credibility. I’m really proud of him.
For me, the most challenging piece Hyun Joong did was at Mnet 20’s Choice when he performed Breakdown in a different concept. The water splash is quite risky for a dancer, but knowing Hyun Joong a challenge lover would take any risk for the sake of arts!!
This is the life on stage, Hyun Joong brings you a worthwhile entertainment for just an hour or two but preparing it is not an easy job. Hyun Joong’s profession is not only all about glamour, it takes a lot of physical effort, sweat, sleepless nights pressure and tension to come up a good production and as perfect as he does. Since Hyun Joong is multiple talented artist, in this article I focused in only one area of his talent and that is being a dancer. I haven’t touch on his being a recording star solo singer and his being an actor. So far, among his talents, dancing is the most difficult even in preparation.
With this long litany that Hyun Joong has to undergo every time he host a concert, he has only one objective in mind, to bring out the best in himself, to leave a memorable mark in the hearts of every fan cheering for him. This is Kim Hyun Joong’s life on stage…..
LazerKim here writing.
Photo credit: as tagged thanks