Beyond Mainstream K-pop: Meet 4 Korean idol choreographers behind your favorite viral dance moves

Vaidehi
Leejung and Lia Kim (Image via Twitter/leejungfiles)
Leejung and Lia Kim (Image via Twitter/leejungfiles)

K-pop songs are known for their unique choreographies that are widely covered by various dancers, but not much is known about the idol choreographers who create these intricate choreographies.

Currently, a crew participating in the show Street Man Fighter, EO-DDAE, is going viral for their member BLACK.Q’s choreographies of Hype Boy and Attention for the monster girl group NewJeans. Both songs have gone viral for their catchy tunes and choreography and have turned into a global phenomenon.

In Beyond Mainstream K-pop, we introduce our readers to South Korean entertainment that surpasses the boundaries of the idol universe. Today, we are exploring four Korean idol choreographers who work behind the scenes to create viral dance moves.


4 Korean idol choreographers behind iconic choreographies in the K-pop industry

1) Son Sung-deuk

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Son Sung-deuk is one of the most popular male idol choreographers in the K-pop industry. He is BIGHIT MUSIC’s in-house choreographer and has been with BTS since their debut.

The dancer is behind some of the most iconic choreographies BTS has performed such as I Need U, Run and Danger. His choreographies are always crisp and inspired by the lyrics to perfectly capture the meaning of the songs.

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Although he does not actively design choreographies for the group anymore, he is still their creative director and oversees all their performances. He received the Best Choreographer of the Year award at the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards and Favorite Music Choreography award for Dynamite at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards for his perseverance.


2) Leejung

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Leejung is the leader of the South Korean dance group YGX and is currently one of the youngest idol choreographers in the industry. The dancer gained mainstream recognition after appearing on the show Street Woman Fighter in 2021.

The choreographer is behind some of the most viral dance moves that have taken over TikTok. She was the brains behind ITZY’s Wannabe shoulder move and the iconic choreographies for BLACKPINK’s Lisa’s solo songs, Money and Lalisa.

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In 2021, the dancer won the Best Choreographer of the Year award for Money at the Mnet Asian Music Awards.


3) Lia Kim

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Lia Kim is a dance mentor and the co-founder and chief choreographer of the extremely popular dance studio called 1Million in Seoul. Lia Kim is known for powerful and expressive dance moves, and she excels in almost every genre of dance from popping to tutting and is praised for her clean body isolations.

The dancer is clearly one of the most sought-after idol choreographers as she has choreographed for all the Big 3 companies. Her most memorable choreographies are for Sunmi’s 24 Hour and Gashina, TWICE’s TT and MAMAMOO’s Hip.

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Lia Kim is well respected amongst dancers around the world and was one of the judges at the 2016 World of Dance in South Korea. She won the Choreographer of the Year award at the 2018 Gaon Chart Music Awards.


4) Bae Yoon-jung

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Bae Yoon-jung is known as one of the strictest choreographers in the K-pop industry. She is one of the veteran idol choreographers who has even choreographed for second generation groups such as T-ARA’s Bo Peep Bo Peep and Brown Eyed Girls’ Abracadabra. She is the CEO of LEGO LABEL (previously YAMA & HOTCHICKS Entertainment).

She also choreographed EXID’s hook step of Up & Down that went viral in South Korea. She's known for creating sultry and sensual dance moves that are the focal point of the choreography.

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The choreographer was also a dance mentor for shows such as Produce 101, Produce X 101, and Produce 48. She was awarded by the Ministry of Culture in 2015 with the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Commendation for her constant efforts in the advancement of popular art and culture.


K-pop idols make the dance moves look cool, however, it is the constant efforts of idol choreographers who spend hours studying the song to come up with the best choreography for both the song and the members to follow along.

The majority of the time they get sidelined for their efforts, however, because of shows such as Street Woman Fighter, many Korean idol choreographers are getting the chance to gain public recognition for their hard work.

Beyond Mainstream K-pop is a weekly series. Stay tuned for more.

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Edited by Somava
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