Recently there seems to be a growing trend of K-pop adopting these American hip hop dance crazes into their choreography, with a particular focus on the “Dougie” and the “Cat Daddy“. What makes these dances particularly interesting is that they are pretty individualized – they’re all about showing off your unique style and how much swag you have compared to everyone else, which is why there are about a billion different ways to dance them (just look up tutorials on Youtube). So where do these moves fit in K-pop, where choreography is meant to make the band members look more uniform and leaves little room for the type of improvisation you might see on the dance floor? Well, let’s take a look.
The Cat Daddy:
The first time I saw an American dance fad in K-pop was in Kim Hyun-joong’s “Break Down”. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was watching at first, but after rewinding it a few times as well as watching the dance practice videos, there was no doubt in mind that he was doing the Cat Daddy. As excited as I was at his attempt, that’s really all it was to me – an attempt. To me, his Cat Daddy looked really forced and awkward, especially since the rest of Hyun-joong’s choreography was still verging on the pop boyband side despite the music video’s attempt at a tougher look. All in all, I wasn’t a huge fan, though it was a good start.
The next time I saw the Cat Daddy appear was when Taeyang danced it in “Fantastic Baby”.
This might not be a key part of the official “Fantastic Baby” choreo as much as it is Taeyang doing his own little thing, but it plays a large part in Teen Top’s parody of it, and I gotta say both of them looked pretty good. So imagine my pleasant surprise when Teen Top decided to incorporate it in the music video for their single “Be Ma Girl”!
I guess what makes both of these examples better than Hyun-joong’s is 1) their Cat Daddy is much closer to the real thing and 2) they just look like they’re having fun. While Hyun-joong’s Cat Daddy seemed like a forced effort to look hip in every mini dance break, Teen Top’s Cat Daddy flowed much better with the choreography and was more of a nice little insert to signal the ending of the song, and Taeyang’s Cat Daddy was just him being himself.
2NE1’s “I Am The Best”, is probably one of the best cases of synchronized dougie-ing (yes I am making that a word) you could get from K-pop. This is partially because the rest of the choreography is less mechanical than other dances – this makes the focus less on intricate movements/synchronization and more on the performers’ fierce personas. And considering the theme of the song, the dougie fits in perfectly with the “naega jeil jalnaga” going on in the background since it’s a great way to exude the type of confidence that 2NE1 is singing about. It’s a pretty smooth incorporation of American dance crazes into K-pop, and I’d expect nothing less from YG, who is better at portraying that style than other major K-pop labels might be (could you imagine SM artists dougie-ing?).
Another nice example of the dougie comes at the end of BTOB’s “Wow”.
While I never really followed BTOB, after watching this music video I found myself looking up some of their live performances just to see the way Ilhoon switches up his dougie in each different performance. He makes it look like he’s just dancing at a party, and I think that’s what makes his moves the most appealing – they look a bit more natural in contrast to the rest of the synchronized choreography. This sort of mini dance solo with its tiny bit of improvisation reminds me of how I normally see the dougie done, and I appreciate that.
These are just a few examples of American dance fads in K-pop, but I’m sure there are plenty of others, so feel free to share your favorites! And on that note, I leave you with my personal favs – Taeyang swag cooking and Block B‘s Kyung doing what kinda looks like the Harlem Shake: