Are K-Pop girl group dances

Rania (Sport Korea)

The world of K-Pop has recently been riddled with issues of “raunchy” choreography of girl groups including one that is just debuting and another more established group.

Rania, a new girl group managed by DR Music and trained by the world renowned Teddy Riley who has worked with Michael Jackson, Robin Thicke and Lady Gaga, caused a stir in Korea with their controversial “spread leg” dance and revealing costumes for their debut single “Dr. Feel Good”.

4minute, a more established girl group managed by Cube Entertainment, is also under hot water with their similar “spread leg” dance and sexy concept for their new single “Mirror, Mirror”.

After their respective debuts, several Korean television networks have declared bans against showing the girl groups’ provocative dances during music shows. They argued that the performances are inappropriate since their audience include viewers as young as 15 years old. As expected, this move have been met with mixed reactions from fans and netizens some of whom agree with the ban while others actively defending the artists.

As a response to the issue, both Rania and 4minute announced that they will continue to perform but with edited choreography including a change in their stage costumes. This announcement come with a heavy heart, though, as the artists have been preparing for their performances for a long time. Rania has reportedly been training for 4 years for their debut showcase. DR Music President Yoon Deung Ryong expressed that “One program informed us that they will cut our four minute track into two minutes and a half. Others said no to the ‘spread leg’ dance and put restrictions on Rania’s outfits. We spent four years creating their debut album title track, how can they just cut it as they wish?”  This controversy shows how important it is to study the readiness of the audience before an artist debuts. Given the reactions to Rania’s debut, it seems that the Korean K-Pop market is not ready for a much sexier concept.

Looking back, this kind of reaction is not new in K-Pop. In September of 2010, another K-pop girl group Rainbow was involved in a similar choreography issue when they performed the “ab dance” for their single “A”. This dance was also banned from music shows last year.

When it comes to K-Pop, it is difficult to tread the thin line of what can be considered as acceptable sexiness and what is considered unacceptable sexiness. Popular girl groups SNSD and KARA had also performed “sexy” dances like the “leg dance” and the “butt dance”. However, these were not met with the same criticism as the “ab dance” and the “spread leg” dance. In the end, it is a subjective matter of perception. The judgment truly depends on the unpredictable audience. As more and more K-Pop girl groups enter the market, the competition gets hotter…literally.