Let’s face it, if you aren’t a good dancer, you are not going to make it very far as a K-pop boyband member. And with new music coming out almost every day of the year, the challenge for acts is to perform a dance move that is so impressive that it lives on in the public memory, even after the song has fallen out of the charts.
Fortunately, though, more than a few artists have managed to do just that.
Join us now on part one of our journey through some of the most memorable male dance moves in K-pop history. So, without any further ado, let’s hear it for the boys!
As featured in “BTD” by Infinite
Let’s start this off with a classic. The video below is basically two-plus solid minutes of Infinite’s semi-legendary scorpion dance, a two-or-so second section of the track “BTD.” You may want to listen with the sound off, because no matter how much of an Infinite fan you are, the same two seconds of just about any song for two minutes is guaranteed to grind your gears.
Amazingly, though, no matter how many times you watch this dance, you never get tired of it, mainly because it seems to completely disregard the laws of physics.
I watched this helpful tutorial video…
…which was very nice, but when I tried this at home, I knocked the kitchen table over, broke a mug, and got a death-stare from Mrs timmydee. Probably best left to the professionals.
As featured in “You Know Me” by Tasty
A boyband with only two members is going to have to do something pretty special to attract attention, which is probably why there are so few of them about. TVXQ have been making a pretty good job of being a twosome, especially with the dance routines for “Something” and the excellent “Spellbound.”
But my own personal favorite two-piece in the game is Tasty. With dance routines that boil over in the energy stakes, you know you are in for a visual treat whenever this group drops new material. However, I am not sure if any Tasty release has ever scaled the heady heights it attained with the debut track “You Know Me,” both in terms of music and choreography.
The dance practice video for this is a treat from start to finish, but the highlight is the unexpected shoulder shuffle at 1:56, a moment of glorious surrealism in a sea of otherwise-finely synched rhythmic movement – and somehow reminiscent of Popeye right after a dose of spinach.
As featured in “One Way” by JJCC
This is one for all the exercise freaks out there. For those of us who are not quite able to bench-press five times our body weight, these funky workout moves look very impressive.
In fact, I couldn’t find the stunt on this exhaustive-looking list of totally exhausting-looking pushups, which either means that either:
a) JJCC’s rolling pushups are not that good for you
b) JJCC has created a new pushup that even health experts don’t know about
Seeing as the group was created by action star Jackie Chan’s talent agency, you have to wonder if it isn’t the latter. At any rate, I have added it into my morning exercise routine, but after taking careful advice from some horrified-looking Soompi editors, I have decided not to upload a video of me attempting rolling pushups, and will instead show you this nifty death-defying “One Way” dance stunt.
Count yourselves lucky.
As featured in “No More Dream” by BTS
This is a move as worthy of a circus crew as of a boyband, and the first time you see it, you get to wondering what is going on. The golden rule of acting is never turn your back on the audience, and that goes double for dancers. So when most of the BTS crew lines up with its back to the crowd, you know something is going to happen. What you are not expecting, though, if for someone to get swept up by a bandmate, step onto another’s back and then go for a sideways sprint along the spines of the other members, who all drop like dominos after they have been run on.
Looks like great fun – as long as you are the one doing the running/kicking, that is.
As featured in “Wolf” by EXO
The best thing about having lots of members is when you pull off a memorable dance stunt, it really looks the part. Super Junior has also been responsible for a wide range of great dance routines, the likes of “Sorry Sorry” and more. But EXO dance numbers are always something special (case in point: the current effort “Call Me Baby,” as well as “MAMA” and “Growl”).
But the haunting “Wolf” move is possibly the best K-pop usage to date of such a huge mass of members. The eerie intro of the song pipes up and the only thing on the stage is what looks like a dimly lit, leafless tree.
In the music video, the camera eventually swings around to one side, with the lights up, allowing you to see how the trick is done – with two of the boys actually leaning backwards and holding onto each other’s arms for support.
All in all, a very neat move, and one that gets even scarier when the creepy tree roots spring out and scrape across the ground thus.
As featured in “Rocking” by Teen Top
The “Rocking” dance routine is a thing of rare brilliance from start to finish, and this practice video is so well executed that just watching it can make you dizzy.
At times, you think there is a mirror in the middle of the room, so in-sync are the moves. But this inexplicably spaghetti-legs turn is quite unexpected.
Somehow it reminds me of the goalkeeper in this classic moment from sporting history:
And it is probably the only part of the entire “Rocking” dance that mere mortals like myself could ever hope to emulate.
As featured “Go Crazy” by in 2PM
This is a dance geared at your inner kid, and if you are a male and you remember your childhood, you will understand the glee with which 2PM appears to perform this routine. There are tons of I’m-riding-my-invisible-motorbike moments, and even this and-now-I’m-riding-a-giant-human-motorbike episode.
The end of the song is where the real fun happens, though. One by one, the group members drop down and play dead until only a bemused-looking Jun.K is left standing. Jun.K pulled off several variations on his own ending move in performances of “Go Crazy,” the best of all being to take off his jacket and use it as a blanket like so:
Childish fun to the max.
As featured in “Everybody” by SHINee
This SHINee stunt is the antithesis to 2PM’s lie-down-and-play-dead move. There are several boy band dance numbers that begin with the members lying down on the floor, but this one really pops. Each one “wakes” one, but when they get around to waking Taemin, the acrobatics really gets going. The SHINee boys are great dancers, but this is their Rolls Royce move (from 1:48).
As featured in “No Mercy” by B.A.P
For many fans, chiseled male bodies are the whole point of boybands, so there can be little surprise when groups make the most of their awesome abs and perfect pecs. The list of ab-flashing groups is too long to name, and the chest thrust is a move incorporated into many a dance routine, but this move is the ultimate power thrust – so thrusty that no waist-up nudity is needed to achieve the desired effect.
And if this doesn’t have enough impact for you, try listening with the sound on (at 0:15). Boom-clap indeed.
As featured in “Too Very So Much” by MYNAME
There are arguably better dancers out there than MYNAME, but this has been my favorite dance hit of the year to date, mainly because it seems so tongue-in-cheek. There are echoes here and there of the BIGBANG’s “Fantastic Baby” dance, and like that track, the “Too Very So Much” dance is a perfect fit with the relentlessly upbeat feel of the song.
Easily the most memorable part of it is this, however.
Are they primping their hair? Do they all have splitting headaches? Nobody knows. Add crazy legs and a down-tuned mantra of: “Brain-head! Brain-head! [gol-moeri]” and you are in for bags and bags of silly, hard-to-forget fun.
So now you’ve read our list, what do you think, Soompiers? Which other K-pop boyband dance moves have caught your eye? Let us know in the comments below.
And for all you fans of female acts, fret ye not, and look out for the “10 Most Memorable Dance Moves: Girl Group Edition” – coming soon to Soompi!
timmydee is a music geek with a penchant for pop, an enthusiasm for electronica and a hankering for hip-hop. When he isn’t writing for Soompi, he is remixing your favorite K-pop tracks – with sometimes astounding (but often catastrophic) results.
*The views expressed in this article solely reflect those of the author and do not represent Soompi as a whole.