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Contemporary Dance on the Korean stage

Kpop does not run out of cool dances. Some of them are geared towards art although most of them are targeting popularity. The primary objective being to create dance steps that many people can do.

However, once in a while, a choreography comes up with something new and unique that it influences Kpop dance trends.

In this article we will talk about those dances that linger toward the art of dancing.

The more contemporary form of the genre emerged with one of the earliest K-pop groups (SeoTaiji and Boys) formed in 1992.

Their experimentation with diverse styles of music “reformed Korea’s music platform.” As a result, the integration of foreign musical elements ( such as hip hop and urban dance choreography) has now become common practice with K-pop artists.

They bring in a lot of different choreographers from outside of Korea to choreograph their music videos including Shaun Evaristo, Keone and Mari Madrid, Kyle Hanagami, and Parris Goebel.

A lot of them actually come from the competition dance community rather than the dance industry.

Contemporary dance and its definition

Contemporary dance is a catch-all phrase used fairly indiscriminately, meaning many things to different dance communities across a wide range of cultures.

This style aimed to show raw human emotion within their dances, differing from the highly stylised emotional and refined content of ballet.

One of the major points of contemporary dance as a whole is how relevant it is to the way we live now. It is a very present-tense experience that speaks of and to the time in which it is being made. To risk stating the obvious, that’s why it carries the label ‘contemporary.’

It has been said, disparagingly, that contemporary dance is anything you can’t readily understand.

The big shift in dance technique between ballet and modern-dance lay in the use of the torso, body weight, and the use of the floor as a valid surface to perform on with the whole body, not just the feet.

The torso was used with greater flexibility and the centre of gravity of the body was worked lower to the floor through deeper knee bends, giving modern dance styles a more grounded presence than ballet.

Today’s contemporary dance is an eclectic mix of styles, with choreographers drawing from ballet, modern, and “post-modern” (structureless) forms of dance. While some contemporary dancers create characters, theatrical events, or stories, others perform entirely new creations as they improvise in their own unique style.

In 2017, at Arko Arts Theater the 31th production of the “12 Korean Contemporary Dance Choreographers” was held and it made a big impact. Since its first production in 1987, the annual dance performance has contributed to the development of the dance industry in Korea and not only.

In the last year’s performance there were twelve up-and-running choreographers which premiered their performances.Ranging from contemporary and Korean dance to ballet it was a performance worth remembering.

Let’s watch it below for a better understanding:

This trend was also adapted by the ever-growing Hallyu Wave and the Korean Dance industry. More and more Korean pop stars integrate contemporary dance in their choreography giving the world some dreamy performances.

Some of the idols who happen to be amazing contemporary dancers are:

  • SHINee’s Taemin

Taemin is undoubtedly the king of contemporary dance.

He largely showcases his artistic moves throughout his music videos, dance practices, and award show stages, where he effortlessly moves to the rhythm of his Korean and Japanese songs giving us many mesmerizing performances.

Our recent favorite being his newest solo music video ” Move” .

The track was released with three choreography-focused music videos in which he aimed to break gender stereotypes and the perceived limits of K-pop’s artistry.

  •  VIXX’s N

N (Cha Hakyeon) is a perfect example of what it means to be a triple threat in the industry. He is one talented singer with breathtaking dance skills. N exhibits his poetic dancing through the musicals he’s starred in.

He performs his own choreography set to Lee Sun Hee’s “Fate” from the classic film “King and the Clown,” a creation he first made and showcased at “VIXX Live Fantasia — Daydream” last year.

N fully utilizes his extensive background in dance, which includes contemporary and ballet.

A powerful intro leads into a more graceful piece as he expresses himself through his art while dressed in a modern take on hanbok – the traditional clothing.  He also used traditional dance moves in this choreography perfectly adding tradition to this modern take.

Watch his captivating dance choreography below:


  •  BTS’s Jimin

Jimin’s irresistible charisma is often witnessed through BTS’s intense choreographies, and a lot of variety and talk shows have brought up his pre-debut days when he used to take classes at his old dance academy in Busan.

Jimin graced us with a hypnotic contemporary performance teaming up with N for the SBS Gayo Daejun 2016 opening:

Another great performance worth mentioning is the intro stage at the 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards in which Jimin teamed up with J-Hope:

  •  EXO’s Kai

Light as a feather, Kai has shown us  his swift dancing skills again and again.

He performed a traditional dance routine during the closing ceremony for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics leaving his fans breathless:

  •  TWICE’s Mina and Momo

The two talented girls – also known as dancing aces of their group-  have come a long way and extensively proved themselves through various stages.

During TWICE’s first concert tour, Mina’s 11 years worth of ballet lessons and Momo’s killer dancing skills were elegantly featured in a duo dance performance:

  • Hoya

As the former INFINITE member kickstarted his solo career he put his aesthetic dance moves to good use. Discover Hoya’s ethereal smooth dancing skills in his MV for “Angel” below:

  •  Red Velvet’s Seulgi

Seulgi is known amongst her fellow members for being the dance machine of the group. She has proudly encapsulated her talent in various dance genres, and has even combined them at times while still maintaining her own dance color.

She has shown us her powerful skills in a solo dance performance to Red Velvet’s cover song “Be Natural” during their first solo concert “Red Room.”

Let’s watch it below:


  • NCT’s Ten

The NCT U member is widely recognized for his breathtaking dance flow, which he showcased during NCT’s numerous stages as well as through his appearances on “Hit The Stage.”

Ten illustrated his talent through the music video for his single “Dream In A Dream.

  •  SEVENTEEN’s Jun, Hoshi, The8, and Dino

The SVT performance team did their unit justice by releasing a beautiful dance routine that was filmed in one shot!

The music video amply represents the members’ sharp skills which gives their contemporary dance performance a fierce aura.

  •  Bora

Albeit becoming a full-time actress and leaving her SISTAR days behind, Bora did not put her slick moves to rest.

In fact, she participated in the dance competition show “Hit The Stage” where she delivered a touching contemporary ballet stage.

And the list goes on and on.

This being said we can conclude that the Korean Dance Stage is incorporating this genre of dancing which brings up that something which is new and unique and more and more talented dancers take up on this challenge.

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