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It’s music video week here at Billboard, but it’s always music video week when it comes to K-pop. Hardly a day goes by without new visuals from the vibrant South Korean pop music scene, and many of those music videos feature energetic choreography.
While many K-pop music videos have gone viral for their impressive dance moves, far fewer dance moves themselves have gone viral because of a music video. Here’s a look back at some of the most prominent music videos that got their names out there because of how popular their dances were:
Park Ji Yoon - “Coming of Age Ceremony” (2000)
There are few songs with as impactful a dance as the seductive “Coming of Age Ceremony,” so even though it came out before the advent of YouTube, it’s impossible to exclude it from this list. Park changed K-pop forever when she released this body-accentuating choreography, and it has since become one of the most-performed dances by Korean stars trying to show to the world that they’re growing up.
Wonder Girls - “Tell Me” (2007)
The easy-to-learn finger-pointing, knee-lifting and arm-raising dance from “Tell Me” was so popular that it not only shot Wonder Girls to fame, but it even was dubbed the “Tell Me Syndrome” in South Korea after it went viral. The group’s next song, “Nobody,” also went viral for its simple hand-clapping and pointing moves, eventually leading it to be re-released in English, a version that made history when it landed on the Billboard Hot 100.
Girls’ Generation - “Gee” (2009)
Few K-pop videos are as legendary as “Gee,” and few dance moves are as representative of an act as the shuffling “crab dance” that shot these K-pop stars to fame to become one of the country’s most popular female acts ever. That said, most of Girls’ Generation’s music videos feature very popular choreography.
Super Junior - “Sorry Sorry” (2009)
When it comes to viral K-pop dance hits, few can compete with Super Junior's "Sorry Sorry," which had several elements to it that went viral, including the hand-rubbing and finger-snapping chorus moves as they sang the title refrain and the cross-armed circular movements of the “da-da-da” portion of the song. They repeated the success of seeing dance moves go viral with the sweeping motions of their next track, “Bonamana."
Brown Eyed Girls - “Abracadabra” (2009)
The “arrogant dance” of this electro-pop song may look familiar to people who haven't watched the Brown Eyed Girls’ music video before: PSY borrowed it for “Gangnam Style.”
SHINee - “Ring Ding Dong” (2009)
This quintet is known for their impressive dancing, but it was the rocking moves from “Ring Ding Dong” that helped them blow up. It was so popular that they even incorporated it into a skit for their SNL Korea appearance in 2015.
KARA - “Mister” (Korea: 2009, Japan: 2010)
This may be cheating, but KARA’s “butt dance” went viral through its live performances first, and only then did they make it into a single and put out a Japanese music video for it. Just try not to wiggle your booty along to the “la la la”-ing of this girl group.
HyunA - “Bubble Pop!” (2011)
It’s hard to get more viral than “Bubble Pop!,” with its hip-popping dance moves that turned HyunA into an overnight sex symbol.
PSY - “Gangnam Style” (2012)
The horse dance -- need we say more?
Crayon Pop - “Bar Bar Bar” (2013)
The whole helmet-fronted athleisure aesthetic of "Bar Bar Bar" is adorable on its own, but it was the "jumping and jumping" chorus dance moves that made this song a hit and saw Crayon Pop become one of the biggest K-pop acts of 2013. It even became known as the “Straight-Five Engine Dance” because of its apparent resemblance to engine cylinders.
Girl’s Day - “Expect” (2013)
Girls' Day have a few iconic dance moves, but the suspender-focused choreography of "Expect" as they croon "ooh-ooh," is second to none. (Except maybe "Something,” which is itself an update of the “Coming of Age Ceremony” dance style.)
EXID - “Up & Down” (2014)
A fan video of Hani performing the song is really to thank for this music video becoming an immense success, but at the basis of it all was the hip-accentuating choreography that had everyone dancing “Up & Down.”
TWICE - “TT” (2016)
Though TWICE has numerous iconic dance moves, including from the videos for hits like “Cheer Up” and “Knock Knock,” it's the emoji-inspired “TT” choreography that is the group’s most addicting.
Sunmi - “Gashina” (2017)
The former Wonder Girls member has seen success after success with her solo ventures and their artistic choreography, but it’s the sharp-shooting “Gashina” that cemented her return as a soloist with its gun-inspired dance moves.
Momoland - “Bboom Bboom” (2018)
This sleeper hit of an electro-pop song blew up this year, in part thanks to the quirky dance moves featured in its video, and the DJing-esque part of the chorus -- where the women put their hands out in front and raise one to their ear -- has become immensely popular in South Korea.
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