20141228_seoulbeats_infiniteYou’ve seen our favourite MVs and our top comebacks in K-pop this past year, but now here’s something a little different. Part of the attraction to K-pop is the intense performance aspect, and central to this facet of K-pop is the dance. The genre is intended to be just as appealing to the eyes as it is to the ears, and a creative and well-executed choreography is so important to the visual aspect of K-pop performances. Not only that, but it establishes the stage presence of the idol or idol group performing it, not to mention showcasing the raw hard work and dedication it takes to master a complicated set of dance moves. Let’s see what our panel had to say about the best of K-pop dance in 2014.

Girl Groups





“Full Moon”
Girl’s Day “Something” Nicole


Orange Caramel “Catallena” Red Velvet
“Be Natural”


Red Velvet
“Be Natural”

Boy Groups


“Last Romeo”
“Go Crazy”


“Boy In Luv”


Super Junior M “Swing” BTS
“Boy In Luv”
“Don’t Tease Me”


Honorable Mentions: f(x) “Red Light”, Ha:tfelt “Ain’t Nobody”, Sistar “Touch My Body”, Exo “Overdose”, Taemin ft. Kai “Pretty Boy”, Orange Caramel “My Copycat”

Rachel: Choosing only three was really difficult!

Nicole’s routine used different levels (from standing to the floor), and her backup dancers were actually a part of the dance, not just props. I also appreciated all of the little hand gestures and foot movements which made this slower song much more interesting. She takes the top for carrying this routine solo. Red Velvet gets bonus points for really getting the most out of their props, from standing on the chairs to hanging off of them. I just wished there was less sitting and walking around at the end; if you have people, use them!  Hyuna’s choreography made great use of the monkey theme and was very memorable and catchy.

I picked 2PM for number one because the dance was just so goofy and fun! It was pretty different from a lot of their other routines. I liked how they danced towards different corners and really ran with the motorcycle theme. After viewing Cjontai’s choices, I checked out Infinite; I haven’t really kept up with that group. I was really impressed by the mirror aspect of the dance: really unique! There were also just some really different formations which made it more visually interesting. I picked Speed for third because their dance used acrobatics and had different levels, but most importantly, there was no standing around. The dance keeps every member moving at all times, which is very hard to find.

Cjontai: What you said about Nicole’s “Mama” is also why I chose Hyuna’s “Red.” She is obviously a favorite for all three of us since she made everyone’s lists. Hyuna has always been one of the most charismatic dancers in K-pop, in my opinion, so I’m glad “Red” exceeded expectations. It was energetic and featured many levels, and I loved how the choreography made use of the entire stage for the live performances. Sometimes, a solo artist gets swallowed by their backup dancers, but Hyuna didn’t allow that to happen. She stood out.

20141228_seoulbeats_sunmiSame goes for Sunmi in “Full Moon.” There was something dangerously sexy about that routine. Everything was working for me — the clothes, the concept, the song, all of it. My favorite part had to be her slow hip rolls, especially when she repeated the move on the corner of the couch for her live stages. That is not an easy feat. I don’t recommend attempting it at home. Or your friend’s house. Or anywhere really, because you will most likely fall off the couch.

That said, I applaud any group that can take chair dancing to another level like Red Velvet in “Be Natural.” The synchronicity was impeccable. If any of them were off by a single beat, it would’ve been a disaster, so bravo to them for executing that so well.

20141228_seoulbeats_red velvetRachel: Yes, I’m glad to see that choreographers are giving girls more difficult moves to do and giving them things like chairs and couches, especially for the slower songs! I did like that Sunmi didn’t even have to wear shoes for her routine; heels can be very limiting sometimes when it comes to dancing. And yes, Red Velvet took chair dancing to a whole new level!

I almost chose Super Junior M‘s “Swing” too, but after looking over it again, the routine just had people sitting or standing around too much for me; it’s one of my dancing pet peeves. I’ve always liked Super Junior, so I just wish their choreographers would use their large numbers to do more. Picking groups was so difficult I just had to get picky.

Cjontai: Nick, I noticed you chose “Catallena” by Orange Caramel. Any particular reason that one stood out to you?

Nick:  I chose “Catallena” for pretty much the same reasons Rachel chose 2PM’s “Go Crazy” — the dance is infectiously fun! The same can go for any of Orange Caramel’s choreography, but this one took the cake for me. And I agree with Hyuna’s “Red” — what she might lack in rap quality she makes up for in charisma and stage presence, which shows in her dance performance.

20141228_seoulbeats_infinite2I see both of you chose Infinite’s “Back” — I had a hard time choosing between “Back” and “Last Romeo.” Infinite always has very complex choreography, and their execution of the dance moves is always impressively in sync. “Back”‘s intro choreography was just amazing, but I found “Last Romeo”‘s chorus mesmerizing and overall more technically difficult, in my opinion.

Cjontai, I totally agree with you about “Boy In Luv!” BTS has really upped the ante with their choreography since debut, and their hard work is showing. Their dancing has definitely improved and is more in sync; the choreography during the chorus is stunning and fits in perfectly with the lyrics that they’re singing.

20141228_seoulbeats_bts2Cjontai: All I can say for “Boy in Luv” and “Back” is formations, formations, formations. As a former marching band member, I understand how hard it is to get a group in sync to create this dynamic picture for a performance. That is why I respect Infinite and BTS so much in their efforts. It doesn’t matter if you watch their live stages or their dance practice videos, the moves match perfectly every time.

The reason I chose “Back” over “Last Romeo” was because this felt like Infinite’s true signature. I felt the intensity of their moves, even down to the intricate details. Infinite has always been known for their tight teamwork when it comes to dancing, but BTS is giving them a run for their money now. I love having two groups show out with powerful moves like this.

20141228_seoulbeats_2pmI couldn’t get into “Go Crazy” because I know 2PM has better moves. I don’t expect them to match the energy of Got7, but after their routine for “A.D.T.O.Y.” last year, this was a disappointment. It was a mixture of tired, trending dance moves, and they’re better than this. I get that silliness was the theme, but 2PM is too Grown for me now. If they’re going to go the goofy route, I would’ve preferred they followed what g.o.d did for “Saturday Night.” At least g.o.d looked like they were having a genuinely good time. 2PM just reminded me of that awkward drunk uncle you avoid at family functions.

Rachel: Infinite has always been awesome with their formations; I still love their choreography for “Come Back Again.”

20141228_seoulbeats_vixxNick: Super Junior M’s synchronization for “Swing” was definitely impressive, especially for such a large group — any time you add one more person, you double the amount of effort it takes to keep everything looking flawless. Their dancing is top-notch, but I still find VIXX‘s execution cleaner and more precise. Admittedly, the chorus for “Error” left a bit to be desired in terms of technical difficulty, but it’s nevertheless very coordinated and beautiful to watch. I’m also a sucker for concepts, and I love how committed VIXX is to really pushing the concept through all aspects of their performance, be it the song, MV, costume, and of course choreography. The unplugging motion is clearly obvious at the end of the song, but it also subtly is incorporated throughout the choreography which impressed me.

And that’s true, “Back” definitely feels like more of Infinite’s signature style, but I think that’s why “Last Romeo” spoke to me more because it was fresh while still being so Infinite. And I liked 2PM’s stages for “Go Crazy,” but I agree that they could have shown off better dance moves. It’s definitely fun and crowd-pleasing; I think the term “drunk uncle” fits hilariously well for it. They could barely fit in JYP‘s dance room!

Rachel: I did like that Super Junior M used some props and moved them around the stage. The dance break was also unexpected and really good! I guess I’m just hoping for a more signature dance like the main group had with “Sorry, Sorry.” I thought Super Junior M’s choreography for “Break Down” was better personally.

20141228_seoulbeats_super junior mVIXX always has some of the most interesting concepts for their videos; it’s a shame that they do not get more attention for all of the creativity put into it. I almost put them on the list too, but for me some of the other groups were just more memorable.

I admit that a lot of the moves for 2PM’s “Go Crazy” aren’t too complicated, but it was nice to see a group known for their ultra-masculine choreography to basically do a ssanti/cheap dance the entire time. For me it just had something special about it.

Nick: Yes, props always complicate things, and Super Junior M handled it very well. It reminded me of other times SM Entertainment groups have used props on stage; Shinee’s Dream Girl was another title track that used mic stands heavily in the choreography and very impressively. This year, Exo has also done something similar with stools as Super Junior M did during their concert performances of “Moonlight,” but “Swing” is a whole different level with whole desks being moved around. Throw in the tie choreography, and it was all quite impressive use of props on stage. It’s creative, but the dance moves themselves could have been more complex.

I agree, VIXX’s main point is the creativity behind their videos; that’s what made them memorable, for me at least. And I sympathize with you, it’s definitely hard trying to fit only six groups on this list!

20141228_seoulbeats_fxCjontai: I mentioned before that I almost chose VIXX’s “Error,” but I’m curious if there were other honorable mentions for the both of you. For me, it was a bit of a struggle on choosing female groups because I almost chose f(x) for “Red Light,” but Red Velvet won me over with their chair-ography. It was painful to not choose f(x) again, especially since they seem to be getting overlooked in more ways than one this year. Still, I applaud SM for not watering down their dance because we know they have the ability to kill choreography like no other.

I also want to give an honorable nod to Ha:tfelt for “Ain’t Nobody.” There was something raw in her dance. I felt like it really connected to the song in that it was wild and reckless. I almost feared for her safety because she was also barefoot like Sunmi, but her dance was so violently passionate. She literally threw herself into that dance, slamming herself against the floors and walls with careless abandonment. I never knew she had that kind of skill so it was a pleasant surprise for me.

Nick: For girl group dances, Sistar‘s “Touch My Body” nearly made it onto my list. The sexy and fun vibe made it a great summer song, and the dance matched that vibe perfectly. I love that Sistar’s never been afraid to take on more risque dance moves and this one was no different. The butt/leg-shake move became pretty iconic and instantly recognizable.

20141228_seoulbeats_taemin kaiAs for boy groups, I’ve already mentioned having trouble picking between Infinite’s and VIXX’s other choreo, but Exo’s “Overdose” was definitely another one that came close as well. The opening formation looks difficult to set up, not to mention the head movements in the latter half of the chorus. Plus, they get extra points for having to deal with rearranging the choreography and positioning not once, but twice, each time a member left. Despite that setback, each performance (whether it was as 11 or 10) was top-notch and in sync. And Kai’s feature on his best friend Taemin’s song, “Pretty Boy,” was just a beautiful performance. Both are such excellent and dedicated dancers, and you could feel the energy between them. It really shows when performers work well together and this was a great example.

Rachel: For the male groups I almost picked Super Junior M’s “Swing” like I mentioned earlier. I liked how they used tables and chairs in the routine and manipulated them.

For the girl groups I almost chose one of Orange Caramel’s songs. I almost picked “My Copycat” because it was just so quirky, unique, and fun. And the concept of their videos are always interesting too. The trio is always sharp and perfectly in sync which is not something you often find in girl groups.

And there you have it! Do you totally agree with our choices, or strongly beg to differ? What your own top picks were for K-pop’s best dance of 2014?

(Images via Big Hit Entertainment, Woollim Entertainment, Cube Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, Jellyfish Entertainment)