Sharp and wild. Perfect dance moves that awe K-pop fans are no longer bound by Korean artists themselves.
With the influence of the Korean wave in recent years, K-pop fans have seen an increase of non-Korean YouTube dance artists who are also fans themselves. They rise from everywhere around the world and showcase their dancing talents on their own YouTube channels.
In one of our recent editorials, hellokpop‘s Nini talked about dance choreography, ran through facts on why dance is an important element, and explained how dance has drawn fans to the K-pop phenomenon. An academic research study conducted by hellokpop’s Crystal last year also revealed that dance choreography does, indeed, play a major role in the appeal of K-pop. These two articles clearly point to how influential the dance factor can be in K-pop.
So, what happens when these K-pop dance cover artists combine their passion for dancing and K-pop? Amazing things.
Here we bring you the top 10 most influential K-pop dance cover artists who have successfully made a name for themselves on YouTube by harnessing the power of their passion for K-pop dance.
Darren is our favourite boy, whom we have known from the days when he started to cover K-pop dances. He is a dancing machine, and if you reside in Australia, do check out his Facebook page for dance workshops that he frequently conducts.
9. NOVOLUM TeVe
What is more awesome than knowing how far K-pop has reached, all the way to Mexico. You have to watch these guys. Swag.
These seven beautiful Russian girls called themselves Inspirit. They have been active since 2011 and have won awards in major contests.
7. Brian and Daniel Zhou
Brothers Brian and Daniel cover K-pop dances because they love to dance and have an affinity for K-pop. They also upload helpful tutorials for fans to learn how to dance too.
Check out their dance cover of Nu’est’s Hello, which has also helped them to came in first place in Loen dance competition, Let’s Dance Nu’est.
6. Cindy Zhang
A dancing girl from Canada, Cindy is inspired by 4Minute’s Hyuna.
Henry and Miles are twins who like to dance a lot, and they are really popular.
4. Secciya Ying Ying
Ying Ying is a dancer that learns from the young and also owns her own dance studio. Apart from her rich experience and exposure in the field, she was also one of the back dancers for G.Na during one of her concerts in 2011. Get mesmerized by her dancing talents.
Yet another dancing twin duo, Nicolas and Colin joined in the K-pop dance cover scene in 2010. They also have their own fan club named Cloud9. Fans and supporters are called Raindrops.
Kaotsun is definitely one of the most influential dance cover artists on social media, particularly with fans and supporters in Asia and Australia. She has also won several dance competitions.
NS Yoon G & Jay Park – If you love me
According to the number of views and subscribers on YouTube, St.319 is the most influential and leading K-pop dance artists on social media. The group hails from Hanoi, Vietnam, and has won a number of accolades, including from the top three entertainment agencies in South Korea–SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment and YG Entertainment. They have their own fan club, which is called IOWA.
To read more about St.319, click here - Uncovering St.319, the K-pop dance cover group from Vietnam
Offical Facebook page: st319dance
Fanclub Facebook page: IOWA
After reading and watching these 10 K-pop dance cover artists, I am sure you have become impressed by their talents and understand why some K-pop fans really love and support them.
During our recent interview with Tyrone “Niddy” Buckner, head of Billboard Entertainment Group LLC and freelance Co-Producer/A&R for C-JES Entertainment, he said this: “…. That’s why I love K-Pop fans. They’ve embraced me. They tell me about their dreams, hopes, stories, aspirations, what they love about K-Pop, what they want to see happen in K-Pop, what they’re willing to do to make it happen. They are active themselves ….” – U.S. A&R Exec signs African-American K-pop artist and reveals ‘true’ side of JYJ
Believe me or not, that’s going to be what happens. K-pop fans are making all the difference right now.
The next future big thing in K-pop is going to be K-pop fans themselves, and if you are a K-pop fan, I am talking about you too.
Love it or hate it, but the horse-dancing Korean guy is back and this time he’s a ‘mother father gentleman’.
PSY took the world by storm last year when Gangnam Style hit airwaves and sky-rocketed him to number one in more than 30 countries around the world, and he’s about to do it again with his latest release, Gentleman.
To the world, PSY may just be remembered as the guy who galloped onto the global music scene last year but to the rest of loyal K-Pop fans, the 35-year-old quirky global superstar has had a string of hits in South Korea for 12 years.
While the rest of the world waited to see whether the follow-up to Gangnam Style would be equally as good as its counter part, the rest of us who follow K-Pop know that this musical genius would not disappoint.
PSY is a smart man – and so is the team behind him. Now managed by Scooter Braun, who also manages global sensations Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepson, PSY and Braun promised the world for a follow-up hit and a new dance craze and now I know why they were so confident.
In an interview last year with Today Tonight in Australia, PSY said that his horse-galloping dance move was new to the world but in Korea, it was just another “PSY dance move”.
“I’m ready for another dance move that is new to the world… it’s same sense (sic) of dance move [same style to Gangnam Style], which is [leave people thinking], ‘what is that?’ (sic).” PSY told the Australian reporter.
Before I go into detailing why I think PSY and Braun were incredibly smart about creating another global smash-hit with Gentleman, watch the music video below, which was released earlier today.
PSY and his team knew the world and the media were waiting to label him as a ‘one-hit-wonder’ but he knew that whatever he released next would undoubtedly be compared to his previous hit, so he created something that was similar for them to compare.
> Did PSY’s latest music video meet your expectations? Let us know in the comments below.
If you’ve watched the music video for Gentleman above, you would recognise a few similarities between Gangnam Style and Gentleman. Besides the signature round sunnies and various coloured suits, the girls, elevator scenes and various pranks he pulls throughout both video, it’s evident that his team knew they had to make a video that didn’t stray too far from the themes and comedic gestures of Gangnam Style, otherwise it wouldn’t have met with critic expectations.
Besides the infectious electro clubbing beat and catchy hook, it was always about whether or not PSY could replicate a dance hook that made the world dance last year. And this is where I commend PSY and his team for making a very wise decision.
PSY’s new hip dance is un-arguably similar to Brown Eyed Girls’ signature dance move from their 2009 hit Abracadabra, which shot the electro girl group to fame around the world and woke up the electro music scene in Korea. Everyone talked about Abracadabra’s hip-shaking dance, which helped the group sell millions of downloads of the song.
With the world pressuring him to come up with a new dance hook, PSY and his management borrowed Brown Eyed Girls’ 2009 hip-moving dance and added his own twist. And it worked. The new ‘Gentleman’ dance is catchy and you can feel your hips just itching to sway side to side hearing the song.
But with that decision, PSY’s team must’ve predicted that K-Pop fans would be quick to point out that the dance is similar to Abracadabra (and they’re right, because I’m pointing this out just hours after the release) and allege the rapper of plagiarism.
Any plagiarism accusation has the potential to ruin anyone’s public image, even if it’s true or not. But PSY and his team must have signed some sort of agreement with Brown Eyed Girls’ to borrow their contagious dance move because the group’s Ga-In features in PSY’s music video as the lead girl and dances alongside the rapper.
With Ga-In featuring in the video, it dismisses any claims that PSY had ‘plagiarised’ the dance and by borrowing Brown Eyed Girls’ addictive hip-shaking dance, PSY’s new dance move is a proven hit and reduces the chances of him becoming a ‘one-hit-wonder’.
Not to mention, the song hopes to bring PR through it’s lyrics. Although the song’s literal interpretation is about how a guy is always going against his words although he claims that he’s a gentleman, PSY’s hook line almost makes no sense.
I can only see he purposely uses ‘mother father gentleman’ as a play on words for something else (you know what I mean). Britney Spears did it with her song, If You Seek Amy. Read that one out loud slowly and you’ll get what I mean.
It may be too early to tell but Gentleman is already on it’s way to become the new craze. Within just five hours of release, the music video has already raked in almost 200,000 likes and more than 60,000 comments on YouTube.
But this writer here thinks that PSY’s strategy for this follow-up song will definitely work in his favour.
Film is a reflection of the culture that produces it and recently, there appears to be a trend surrounding K-pop idols and the Korean movie industry. More idols are being tapped by directors, both commercial and indie to star in their films, but is this emerging trend really a good thing?
According to Rex Baylon, writer for Modern Korean Cinema, the answer to that is-not necessarily. While this trend seems inevitable given the rising influence of K-pop and its stars, he argues that these stars don’t always have the acting chops that many previous stars had when they were tapped for roles. Why? Put simply, they don’t have the background in theater and screen that many previous crops had. Instead of spending several years tarrying in supporting roles and building their acting skills, K-pop idols are being given bigger and more recognizable roles right out of the gate.
He makes a good point when he states, “[a]lso, due to those earlier actors having worked for so long in the industry, they were far more mature in age and also boasted more unique physical characteristics. The new crop of stars eschew this and though all of them are attractive, a cinephile would be hard-pressed to tell one pretty boy from the next.”
I find it interesting that he makes a point to zero in on, what is to him, a loss in the variety of looks in films. It brings to mind the discussion of plastic surgery in idols that we had here and here. Obviously, there are numerous elements at work in the decision making of who gets what roles but it is in no small part that these idols are filling a growing need that filmmakers are wanting to cash in on.
Films are generally a very visual media, in which the stories told are meant to visually satisfy the viewers, to allow them to set aside their immediate troubles and become voyeurs for a fragment of their day. Where else do you willingly go into a closed room and sit for a couple of hours in the dark with strangers? It’s a shared experience that is unique to our modern time.
Do I sound like a purist? I am. Films hold a special place in my heart and while I understand the current trend, I’m pessimistic about the motives behind it. I fear that the management companies which these idols work for, are forcing them to take on greater responsibilities, and while it’s certainly not unheard of for an artist to work in multiple fields at once, surely this spreading of their talent weakens their ability to be really good in one specific area. However ultimately, I believe the blame lies with directors who are looking to cash in on large box office tallies, while overlooking the fact that some idols do just need more time to develop their acting skills.
For directors, it’s a win-win situation. What better way to stimulate moviegoers than to bring in their favorite singers and place them into roles that make their fans salivate to see them? Economically speaking, by bringing in the idols with large built-in fan bases, it automatically means more butts in the seat. Recently, there has been a rash of films starring and/or featuring idols: R2B:Return to Base featuring Rain, Code Name: Jackal with Kim JaeJoong, Architecture 101 with Bae Suzy and, coming in 2013, Alumni with T.O.P.
South Korean films have always had to deal with competition from foreign films because of the Motion Picture Law that has controlled both domestic and foreign film theater distribution. This law has changed several times since it was first enacted in the 1960’s, but direct competition from Hollywood fully blossomed in 1986 when it was allowed to distribute directly to theaters, and again in 2006 when the number of days allowed specifically for domestic films diminished from 146 to 73 days.
Given this type of atmosphere, one can understand the reasoning behind the increased use of K-pop stars to strengthen the appeal of domestic films, and it certainly seems to be working. Domestic box office receipts show that Korean moviegoers flocked to Korean films in 2011 by an increase of 22% from the previous year. There was an increase for the first time in five years since the halving of days for domestic screen quota occurred in 2006. Korean films have also seen a rise in domestic exports with an 11% increase in 2011 over 2010 in the buying of overseas rights.
Can this increase of domestic box office revenue be completely attributed to the rise of K-pop idols working in films today? That’s hard to say. There are currently no real statistics to show the affect of idols working in the industry, but given that more are being tapped to work, there is certainly a good indication that they are, at the very least, providing more exposure to the films they work on.
Personally, I believe that this trend reflects the increasing popularity of K-pop both domestically and abroad. Distributors are very sensitive to the current market trends and, believe me, they have noted the increase call for K-pop world-wide. They will have also noticed the image these idols have marketed themselves, as and if a market demands a certain actor over another, it will be taken into account. But as a cinephile myself, I worry that if the immediate concern of money over content increases, it will water the product down. In other words, directors will produce films that are not right for the idols to cast them in, and because of the weak product; the idols will suffer most, with losses of product endorsements and future film roles, finally destroying their careers slowly.
What do you think? Have you noticed an increase of idols in films? Do you think this trend is good or bad for both the idols and the film industry? Or do you think making film is ultimately still a business without the need to consider the idols’ suitability in the industry?
Let us know in the comments below!
Most fans would agree that the ability of K-pop to reduce English to a nursery-school level is one of the most criticised elements of the genre. However, no one can deny that we all very much enjoy these WTF moments and, most of the time, in spite of their English snafus, we end up singing along with our favorite K-pop idols anyway.
The list of such songs is, basically, never-ending. So, I have selected the top 10 songs that I think represent the ‘best of class’ English.
10. TVXQ – Purple Line
Purple Line includes probably one of the most amusing abuses of English ever, which is curious, because the best lines and worst abuses were given to Yoochun, who is supposed to be able to speak English reasonably well, because he lived in The States for quite some time.
“It’s looks like purple line,” would simply be given an F-grade for grammar, but the best line ever is, “really wanna touch myself.” (Yoochun, don’t you worry. A lot of us fan-girls really wanna touch yourself, too!) The line does make me wonder, though, if the lyricist somehow accidentally mixed up the lyrics with a porn movie script. Hm.
9. U-Kiss – Dancing Floor
One of the most amusing “techniques” found is when lyrics sound like English, but when you look closer, they’re total rubbish. U-KISS sings things like, “I’m a dancing floor,” “Hey everybody let’s keep a music on,” and most interestingly, “Can you feel the floor.” Well, maybe they mean you were dancing so hard you ended up on the floor, so you can feel it? Erm…
8. Beast - Shock
I love this song, but some of the lyrics look like a first-grade rhyming lesson.
“I can’t breath, like freeze / hey dear, stay here.”
Best of all, though, is the chorus.
“Every day I shock (Shock! ), every night I shock (Shock! )”. Wow! I shock, too!
7. Kara - Pretty Girl
Some lyricists obviously need to take an English Grammar 101 class.
“If you want a pretty, every wanna pretty.” Um. No.
6. SHINee - Ring Ding Dong
Even the title sounds hilarious. Okay, yes, I know it’s supposed to be onomatopoeia, but these lyrics make me fall out of my chair every time I hear them:
“We gonna go Rocka Rocka Rocka Rocka Rocka Rock
We gonna go Rocka Rocka Rocka Rocka Rocka Rock
I get that it rhymes, but what does it mean?! Not to mention the rocka-rocka part sounds like ‘cola cola’ to me.
5. Super Junior - Mr. Simple
Actually, we could pick any Super Junior song, because all of them are filled with nonsensical English, but I particularly like Mr. Simple:
“Because I naughty, naughty,
Hey! I’m Mr. Simple
Because I naughty, naughty(…)
Just Grab It Grab It”
Based on word choice, it really does seem like SM lyricists get some kind of inspiration from erotic movies, doesn’t it?
4. ZE:A - Mazeltov
I cannot figure out why any Korean band would want to sing about good luck in Hebrew. I mean, they might as well sing in Russian next time. But hey, to each his own. Even when seasoned with bad grammar, WTF moments, the names of the days, and a hilarious list of girls from different countries, I still find myself singing along.
“It shut it down, Love
It shut it down, Blind
It shut it down, Passion
Break it down, Red beat down, Knock you down, Here we go.
Latin girl, Mexican girl, Korean girl, Japan girl.
Mazeltov, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday”
3. EXO - Mama
In the most notorious abuse of English, this little gem, again by SM Entertainment, attempts to sell us nonsensical sentences as–Latin? Well, you know you could have just used a real Latin text, right? Really.
No one who care about me
2. T-ara - Yayaya
Next, is a textbook example of how NOT to sing in English. The lyrics to T-ara’s Yayaya mixes random English words with “sounds” that are supposed to mimic–what exactly? Native Americans? Something. Poor No Min-woo, he probably went through hell at the music video shooting. To top it off, the Korean lyrics don’t seem to make all that much sense, either.
“Yo ma Yo ma Lova Lova
Yo ma Yo ma Supa Nova
U Hee U U Hee
Oh Go it Go it Go it Go Go it Go Go it Go”
1. JYJ - Mission
The ‘Number One Abuse of English Award’ goes to one of my favourite bands, JYJ. As much as I love these guys for their vocal talents, their English lyrics writing skills are terribly lacking. While Mission’s main lyrics were written by JUNO (Kim Junsu‘s twin brother), the rap section was penned by Yoochun who, again, is supposed to speak English well. Really? In any case, I am just unable to make any sense of these lines at all. Some of them actually seem to suggest the use of Google Translate.
“Mission make it mission lets go mission make it make it go~
I must go make it mission lets go mission make it go~
I must go make it mission lets go mission make it go~
I want u screaming JYJ verse2
What’s that baby what u baby
Probably you’re money is unpublic
Try to save my life like a puppy & cream
Another hot movie character bumble bee treat me
like a slave & I pray is it Halloween
Trick or treats oh please
don’t even try to pull my head own you’re way
Brand new person,
A man? So fuck off no more talk
Yeah no another sounds can’t make it your body mores
Just one truth is without you’re mind
and you heart there is no me”
So, which song with nonsensical English lyrics is your favourite? Come on. You know you’ve got one. Tell us all about it in the comment section below.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely of the reviewer and not of hellokpop as a whole.
Next in our Kpop Magnetism series, we’ll hip-thrust, spin, and freestyle our way through the all-out happiness Kpop brings to fans through its world-renowned choreography. While musical arrangement, lyrics, and vocals are the perceived bread and butter to any great track, one simply cannot overlook the leaps and bounds choreography in the Kpop industry has made over the years. Where once artists were prided on their musical talent alone, dance choreography has become a major mover and shaker when it comes to drawing in Kpop fans from around the world.
When Kpop was in its infancy, many routines were heavily based on traditional dances, or didn’t include any choreography at all. However, as the influence of western music and dance began to flood Korea in the early to mid 1990′s, the choreography of Kpop gradually began to morph into a monster all its own. Taking influences from classic dance genres, such as ballet and tap, and integrating them with more modern styles, such as modern/freestyle dance and break dancing, Kpop’s love affair with dance began to grow. Through it all, three styles of dance–B-Boying, Freestyle, and Hip-Hop–have become the prince, queen, and king (respectively) of the Kpop choreography world, and have become integral in grabbing the attention of the Kpop fan and pulling them into the genre.
As break dancing (now termed B-Boying in the Kpop world) began to evolve on the streets of the South Bronx in New York City in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s, it became a staple in the U.S. choreography industry, highly influencing even more modern modes of dance, such as hip-hop. While the popularity of B-Boying has died down somewhat in the US, the dance style has continued to garner a worldwide fandom for decades. When B-Boying crossed the pond, so-to-speak, Korean youths became infatuated with it, spurring the country’s own B-Boying movement that has never truly faded.
When you poll Kpop fans and ask them who the best B-Boyer in the Kpop universe is, nine times out of ten you get SidiusHQ‘s R&B superstar Jay Park and his Art of Movement (AOM) crew based out of Seattle. Known for his killer style, both on and off the dance floor, Jay Park has become the quintessential icon when it come to modern day B-Boying in Kpop. With perfectly synchronized and highly acrobatic moves, Jay Park has moved B-Boying in the Kpop world to center stage and inadvertently has sparked a new-found, worldwide interest in this unique dance style.
While B-Boying has become a staple in Kpop’s dance arsenal, it’s modern dance, or freestyling, that has become the queen of Kpop choreography. Freestyle, by definition, includes a myriad of different dance elements and styles artfully mixed together to form something completely different. This is where the majority of Kpop choreography routines live.
Freestyle dance is a perfect fit for Kpop’s super large groups like Super Junior (video above), as choreographers are able to play upon the many individual members’ dance strengths to incorporate a variety of styles into their dance numbers. This also leaves the door wide open for some highly intricate dance choreography that truly leaves fans in awe. From eclectic and subtle movements to highly complicated ones utilizing up to as many as ten group members at once, its no wonder why Kpop’s dancing has become that wow factor that fans absolutely adore and love to emulate with every new release.
The hip-hop dance style first came on the scene in the late 1960′s, with the legendary James Brown credited as the one who started it all. This style slowly began to develop congruently with the growing hip-hop music genre. While hip-hop music was quite influential in the progression of its dance equivalent, the hip hop dance movement didn’t achieve worldwide notoriety until the 1990′s when dance battles became extremely popular. Iconic dance moves, such at the running man (and its derivatives) are still actively used in Kpop routines to this day, and artists like Girls Generation (and many others) utilize hip-hop based routines more frequently than any other form of dance out there.
In every sense of the word, the hip-hop dance style is king in Kpop’s choreography repertoire. With every new set of choreography that’s released, we can see the obvious influences of Hip-Hop with every move they make. With powerful movements, reiterating a tough and aggressive personality, hip-hop dance in Kpop always receives high praise from the fans and places Kpop artists in the realm of pop culture’s dance elite. Because, lets face it, you have to have some serious talent to pull off some of these routines. While some routines are more based in hip-hop than others, with every routine out there, elements of this dance style or its influence can be readily seen, making it the most utilized dance style in Kpop.
Kpop’s choreography has become so influential and important that when a new routine comes out from a popular artist, said routine –or parts of it–usually gets dubbed with its very own name and is often times reused in future routines. Dance moves such as Super Junior’s Sorry Sorry hand rub, Brown Eyed Girls’ Abracadabra hip sway, DBSK‘s Mirotic chin pose, Girls Generation’s Gee crab leg, Wonder Girls‘ So Hot bracelet dance, Sistar19‘s My Boy body roll (video above), and even PSY‘s iconic horse riding dance from Gangnam style, have all solidified their place as some of the greatest dance moves in Kpop history, spurring not only a myriad of dance covers worldwide, but also prompting Korean groups to release dance practice videos in record numbers.
Kpop dance enthusiasts around the world are always on the hunt for the next great choreography, and their passion has turned into a booming movement (and business) worldwide. The interest and popularity of Kpop’s choreography has spawned hundreds of popular dance cover crews from around the world, which cover everything from the simplest of routines to the most advanced–and everything in between. Vietnam’s Kpop dance crew, St319, for example, has covered routines like TVXQ‘s Catch Me, SHINee‘s Sherlock, Kara‘s Step, 2NE1‘s Clap Your Hands, and EXO‘s Mama, and has not only become extremely popular with Kpop fans worldwide, but also has exemplified the true cult-like following that Kpop’s choreography has generated over the years.
Even though the era of flashmobs has died down globally in the last year, iconic dance routines, such as the one for SHINee’s Lucifer (video above), are still a staple at huge fan events, and can be seen being mimicked at concerts and festivals all over the world. Fans don’t hesitate to pop off their favorite artists’ well-known choreography at the drop of hat, and do so simply because they enjoy it and want to show their support and love for their favorite artists. Further proof of the fans’ love for Kpop choreography can be found easily on YouTube, as thousands of fancams have caught these “show the love” moments at concerts and events around the globe.
While dance covers have become a huge part of Kpop’s virility in the world, that influence hasn’t just been limited to the Internet, concerts, and fan events. This love for the art has also sparked classes in local gyms and dance studios worldwide. These businesses offer Kpop-themed classes, where they teach their clients highly popular Kpop routines step by step or, in the case of gyms, offer aerobics classes perfectly timed to Kpop, while utilizing iconic moves from across the genre. Even in small towns, far from the hustle and bustle of diverse urban areas, these classes are beginning to spring up and have become a testament to the true power of Kpop and its choreography.
So what is it about Kpop choreography that really pulls in the fans? Answer: Everything. There is something for everyone when it comes to dance in Kpop. Whether you enjoy sexier dancing with a more R&B-style groove, highly choreographed freestyle dancing that makes you want to get up and dance, or powerful hip-hop inspired routines that just make you feel invincible, Kpop has it all.
Just as fans of Kdramas are unable to nail down their favorite OST track, Kpop fans have an even more difficult time trying to pick their favorite Kpop dancers! Who do you think are the BEST Kpop dancers in the business? Tell us in the comment section below.