K-pop is in the middle of a stateside takeover. South Korea's boy bands and girl groups can always be counted on to produce catchy, upbeat songs—and, most importantly for us dance fans, to feature colorful choreography prominently in their music videos. Over the past few years, the K-pop machine has been churning out a seemingly endless stream of talented groups with choreography worth watching on repeat, and some of them are starting to make names for themselves in the U.S. Check out our list of the dancetastic K-pop bands you need to know.
OK no, they're not new—they've been putting out hits since 2013—but it's impossible to talk K-pop without mentioning the boys of BTS: V, RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, and Jungkook. They've become international superstars over the past few years, thanks to their world tours, social media savvy, and elaborate choreography (duh). While all of the boys can hold their own on the dance floor, J-Hope, Jimin, and Jungkook are BTS's strongest dancers, and can often be found in the center of their formations doing a few solo moves. From their suited-up performance of "I'm Fine" on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" to their music video for "DNA" (which the boys described as the hardest choreography they'd learned), it's hard to narrow down their best dance moments.
The quintet known as Red Velvet—Joy, Yeri, Irene, Wendy, and Seulgi—might already be on your radar, thanks to its performance at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang and its recent U.S. tour. Red Velvet's girl-power anthems and intricate choreography have made it a standout in what sometimes feels like a boy-dominated field. Also worth noting: One of our faves, Kyle Hanagami, created the choreography for several of their music videos, including "Be Natural," "Ice Cream Cake," "Peek-A-Boo," and "Power Up."
Formed through a reality TV show, Twice is essentially the Spice Girls of K-pop, with each of the band's nine members adopting a distinct persona. The ensemble made its debut in late 2015, and has since become one of the top K-pop groups. (The music video for Twice's song "TT" has over 400 million views on YouTube.) Many of Twice's dance routines include super-specific hand movements that are reminiscent of popular emojis. We especially love Mina, Sana, Momo, Jihyo, Tzuyu, Dahyun, Nayeon, Chaeyoung, and Jeongyeon because in addition to their official music videos, they also upload dance vids that focus solely on their choreo.
Boy band Seventeen first caught our attention in 2017 with their imaginatively choreographed video for "13th Month's Dance." Jun, Dino, The8, and Hoshi—the dance-focused guys in the 13-member band—are still bringing their intricate, synchronized moves to every music video, but in the group's newest releases, S.coups, Wonwoo, Mingyu, Vernon, Woozi, Jeonghan, Joshua, DK, and Seungkwan, have also joined in. And we're seriously impressed with their ability to nail every movement and isolation in unison.
MJ, Sanha, Rocky, JinJin, Moonbin, and Cha Eunwoo make up Astro, a group formed in 2016. While all was quiet on the Astro front last year, this year, they're back—and their new music has a more mature sound. Their latest music video, "All Night," only gives us a taste of what that means for their choreography (apparently more fluid movements infused into their hip-hop style), but we can't wait to see what's next. Astro also likes to give us dance rehearsal videos to drool over, so fingers crossed we'll be seeing more of those in 2019, too.
Though BLACKPINK made its debut in 2016, members Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa signed with a U.S. label in 2018—meaning you're going to be seeing a whole lot more from these girls. In addition to performing at Coachella this spring, they're also in the middle of a world tour that includes several U.S. dates. We love that they work with A-list choreographers: Kyle Hanagami has contributed choreography to some of their hits, as has Parris Goebel. And while all the girls consistently kill it, we especially love the attitude Lisa brings to every routine. She just might be the best dancer to come out of K-pop yet. (Check out this video of Lisa alongside choreographer Kiel Tutin for proof.)
Monsta X is also poised to take over the American music scene: Last winter, it became the first K-pop group to earn a spot on the Jingle Ball tour lineup, and it recently inked a contract with a U.S. label. The seven-member group—I.M., Wonho, Showno, Kihyun, Minkyuk, Hyungwon, and Joohoney—has a bit of edge to its choreo, which sets it apart. The boys just announced a world tour, beginning later this spring and heading to the U.S. this summer.
Launched in early 2019 by the same company behind BTS, TXT, which stands for Tomorrow x Together, will remind you of your beloved OG boy bands with its classic five-member setup. Yeonjun, Soobin, Beomgyu, Taehyun, and Huening Kai have already released their first official music video, and it comes complete with the iconic boy band pyramid formation—hello, *NSYNC!—plus animation elements that complement, rather than compete with, the energetic dance moves.