Welcome, fellow K-pop addicts! If you’re reading this article, you are likely a lover of K-pop, of dance, or of both. It’s fair to say that there are certain songs and videos that stick out in a fan’s mind when it comes to K-pop— especially if you’ve been a fan of the genre for a long time! However, apart from the amazing music and colorful videos, something that has hooked us all when it comes to K-pop are the great dances! From music show performances to double speed challenges, concert stages to famous fan cams, there are definitely dance moments that have left us shook.
Let us preface this article by saying that what was meant to be a short article on some of the best dance moments in K-pop quickly turned into a massive list which still cannot contain all the great moments throughout K-pop history. As such, we’ve already divided the list into two parts, so stay tuned for part two later this week!
The dances on this list are in no particular order, nor are the ones on part one better than the dances and routines on part two. We only mixed things up between the two lists to provide a good balance of artists, styles, and routines on each one. Check it out below!
1. SHINee’s Taemin – “MOVE” (Duo Version)
To be perfectly frank, every dance Taemin does is iconic. Whether it’s spinning out of his clothes during live SHINee stages (click here and watch 6:23… you’ll thank me later) or delivering a breathtaking modern dance routine for his solo promotions like in this video, his dance is a beautiful thing to watch. Although he has had many hits, perhaps no other song of his has made all of Korea quite as obsessed as “MOVE.” We prefer his duo version with the incredible dancer and choreographer Koharu Sugawara, an absolute icon herself. Seeing these two flawless, graceful dancers move so fluidly side by side is something no K-pop fan will ever forget. So, while we can never say enough about the greatness of Taemin, we leave the video below as proof of his incredible talent!
2. After School – “First Love”
Back in 2013, K-pop was even more conservative than it is today. There were no dances like Hyolyn’s “Dally” and certainly no mainstream girl group would tackle things like Stellar’s “Marionette.” So, when After School— a hugely popular girl group at the time— decided to incorporate pole dancing into their comeback dance, the K-pop world was definitely shocked. Handled with grace and beauty, these lovely ladies showed incredible strength in their choreography while still keeping it classy, proving that mainstream girl groups can be super sexy too. Other girl groups also began experimenting with sexy dance concepts as well, but “First Love” will always hold a special place in our hearts.
3. GOT7 – “If You Do” (Double Speed)
A simple face of K-pop is that GOT7 is an underrated dance group. Their skills consistently shine in difficult choreography for songs like “Hard Carry.” What makes us even more convinced of their amazing skills though is when we see them tackle double speed dances on shows like “Weekly Idol.” The group has done the challenge numerous times and never fails to impress with their clean choreo and strong endurance until the very end of the routine. However, if you want to be doubly impressed, watch their double speed version of the song “If You Do.” The routine already has fast foot work, but seeing GOT7 master it at twice the speed is simply amazing!
4. EXO’s Kai – “Don’t Mess Up My Tempo” (Fan Cam Version)
Within just a few years of his debut, Kai was already known as a dance legend in K-pop. In fact, multiple times, Kai was voted the best dancer in K-pop by his fellow idols. While many of his performances have inspired dancers around the globe and set many fan girl and fan boy hearts aflutter, there is not a more iconic performance than the one captured in this fan cam. Performing “Don’t Mess Up My Tempo” at the EXO comeback showcase in 2018, this fan site video has racked up 2.5 million views on YouTube where people just can’t get enough of his strong dance lines and captivating expressions.
5. BLACKPINK – “BOOMBAYAH” (Dance Practice)
BLACKPINK started their career off with a bang due to the mega-smash hit “BOOMBAYAH.” The song was catchy, the music video was amazing, the outfits were epic, but this dance is what converted a lot of people into instant fans. It’s rare for a rookie group to make their debut already looking so fierce and polished, but BLACKPINK made it look easy as they pulled off the difficult routine with the confidence of a senior group with years of experience already under their belt. It’s no wonder this high-energy song and dance is what shot the members to instant stardom!
6. SPEED – “Don’t Tease Me” (Dance Practice)
There have been a lot of great K-pop dances that went viral over the years, but there have also been many that went underappreciated. In fact, SPEED’s epic choreography for “Don’t Tease Me” is definitely one of the greatest and most underrated routines in K-pop. Filled with high-energy moves that are both fun and cute, the group added an extra level of fierceness to their comeback by incorporating aerial moves, flips, and more into the dance. In fact, due to limited space at music show studios, they often couldn’t perform their entire routine (that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still watch this gorgeous live performance of the song though).
7. EXID’s Hani – “Up & Down” (Fan Cam Version)
Many fan cams have come and gone, but there will never be another one with quite the impact of this fan cam of Hani performing “Up & Down.” The talented group had already put out major bops, but unfortunately, they couldn’t quite break into the competitive market of K-pop. In fact, they went largely unnoticed by international audiences until one fan changed the course of EXID’s career by sharing this video. Performing at an event in Korea, Hani’s sexy moves captured the hearts of all viewers and went completely viral. The video now has 30 million views on YouTube and catapulted EXID into the spotlight, where their great songs, amazing voices, fierce rap, awesome dance routines, and lovable personalities cemented them as one of the best girl groups in K-pop!
8. NCT/WayV’s Ten and WinWin – “Lovely” (Dance Cover)
Ten is an incredible dancer and has many wonderful moments that could be included in this list. In fact, we personally think that Ten is one of the greatest dancers currently in K-pop, so we had trouble deciding which of his amazing performances to include on this list! In the end, we went with this gorgeous modern dance routine with fellow NCT/WayV star WinWin— who is also a beautiful and amazingly talented dancer! The duo captured the beauty of dance in this routine for “Lovely” by Billie Eilish and Khalid. It’s safe to say that we’ll never get over this stunning video and the captivating lines that both dancers display in this routine. Their duality of their strength and graceful control is unforgettable.
9. LOONA – “Cherry Bomb” (NCT 127 Cover)
There’s a reason why everyone on the internet insists others should stan LOONA! This mega-talented girl group has captured fans’ attention since their pre-debut activities and music releases. While no one has ever doubted their amazing skills in dance, this fact was further impressed on fans when the group tackled the difficult choreography of NCT 127’s “Cherry Bomb” routine. K-pop fans were already in love with the NCT 127 dance, but the way this amazing girl group performed the dance with enough strength and power to rival any boy group was beyond impressive!
10. VIXX’s N – “FATE” (Performance Video)
No dance list could be complete with out a VIXX representative, so who better to include than the talented dancer and choreographer N? The VIXX member has been lending his skills to the group— and other idols— for quite a while now, so narrowing down his best work proved to be next to impossible. However, one of our all-time favorites has to be this beautiful, stunning performance inspired by traditional Korean costumes and music. Mixing modern dance into the routine while surrounded by an amazing crew of dancers, this gorgeous video is sure to make a huge impact on any K-pop fan who has yet to see it.
BONUS: Celeb Five – “I Wanna Be A Celeb”
Celeb Five isn’t necessarily an idol group, but we couldn’t complete part one of the list without mentioning these talented ladies! The group is made up of comedians, but their dedication to learn this difficult choreography was worthy of the K-pop idol name! A high-energy dance that was first performed by a group of female students in Japan, Celeb Five tackled the moves with an intensity that shows in their face. Although they performed the dance on various shows, we still love their “Weekly Idol” performance the most as the plain, white background truly let these stars take center stage!
Which of these dances made an impact on you? Did any of these performances leave you shook? What other dances should we include for the second half of our list?
Stay tuned for PART TWO where we’ll be discussing dances from groups like BTS, Seventeen, GFRIEND, Red Velvet, and more!