Incredible choreography and dancing is one of the key factors that sets K-Pop apart from other global entertainment industries—but how does it all come together? In a new installment of her “IDOL INSIDER” series, former K-Pop idol Blady‘s Tina (now more commonly known as Christine Park or Park Soobin) explained the full process of K-Pop choreography.
To start, Christine Park says that creating choreography is one of the first things that happens when idols are debuting or having a comeback. After the song has been decided, the next step is securing the choreo. According to Christine, only after that do companies start working on the group’s concept, music video, music show preparation, styling, “and all of that stuff.”
So, when the song is ready, what happens next? Christine explained that typically, the company will then get in contact with one or more dance crews.
From BB Trippin (choreographers for ATEEZ, Rocket Punch, and more) to Team Switch (who choreograph for groups like Red Velvet and Dreamcatcher), dance crews are often selected over individual choreographers. That said, Christine confirms that sometimes companies do pick a couple of different individual choreographers to work with. Kiel Tutin (aespa, ITZY) and Mina Myoung (MAMAMOO, Red Velvet) are among some of the most well-known in K-Pop.
Once companies have selected the choreographers they’d like to work with, they send out their music files and ask the dance crews to return their choreography samples within a certain time frame. From there, they may use one choreographer’s entire dance routine or select elements from each sample and combine them together.
But it doesn’t end there. Next up, the idols have to actually learn the dance—and for that, they need the help of their choreographers. Christine Park went on to explain that once the choreography has been chosen and prepared, the leaders of the dance crew that created it will start teaching it to the idols. “Most of the time, they’ll be just giving you the rough dance draft of it,” says Christine, “and then later on you guys will be perfecting it as time goes on.”
In between sessions with the choreographers themselves, idol then have “their own time” to learn the dance. Christine says that the dance crews film a sample video that shows off the choreography from a clear angle, including all the transitions and the details of the dance moves. Idols watch these videos during practice to perfect what they’ve learned until the choreographers return to finish teaching them.
“This is probably the most difficult part,” Christine revealed, clarifying that learning the dance is much harder than actually performing it. “Sometimes you’ll be learning a totally new genre,” she explained, “or it might be… a lot harder than your previous song.” The former idol went on to say that this is probably the most difficult time for the dancers too, since it’s when they put the most time into the K-Pop group they’re working with.
Over the course of the entire choreography learning period, Christine Park says that the main dance crew leaders will “come in” to work with the group several times: teaching them at the beginning, checking the details midway, then visiting a few more times before the group films their music video or performs on music shows.
Then, all that’s left is to actually perform—which, while no easy feat, definitely doesn’t sound as difficult as learning the choreography. In similar news, Christine Park also revealed how long it actually takes for idols to learn their dances.