You can’t have a K-pop comeback without choreography! However, this is not a list of 2019’s most difficult or technically impressive dance routines. I’m nowhere near qualified to judge that. Instead, these are the top ten performances that really stood out to me this year.
Cosmic Girls – La La Love
Dongkiz – Fever
JBJ95 – Spark
TRCNG – Missing
10. IZ*ONE – VIOLETA
Perfectly accentuating the music, Violeta‘s choreography was all about the girls’ near-constant arm movement, taking advantage of IZ*ONE’s large group configuration to craft waves of synchronized point moves.
9. AB6IX – BREATHE
A very stylish routine, with a sense of fluidity you don’t often see in boy group choreography. There’s a connectivity to the formations, often linking the members together for some inventive interactions.
8. GOLDEN CHILD – WANNABE
Wannabe repainted Golden Child’s concept with darker tones, and its choreography matched that transformation. The routine is all about restraint, drawing the eye with its languid movements before clobbering you over the head with a dynamic breakdown.
7. LOONA – BUTTERFLY
Delicate and interpretive, LOONA’s Butterfly produced some memorable formations, morphing to replicate wings and delivering a satisfying domino effect as the girls descended into a perfectly synchronized dance line.
6. ATEEZ – SAY MY NAME
Say My Name‘s choreography played around with pacing, speeding up and slowing down as the song warranted. Of all of their routines, it felt the closest to the pirate aesthetic they were going for, highlighted by that eye-catching point dance during the chorus.
5. TWICE – FANCY
Opening with an addictive, twirling diagonal formation, Fancy goes on to deliver some of the most memorable girl group choreo of the year. Its chorus is instantly iconic, offering endless fodder for cover performances and random play dance challenges.
4. SEVENTEEN – HIT
Seventeen have never produced a bad dance routine, but they’re at their best when they really go for the jugular. Hit is one of their most fast-paced, unrelenting dances, perfectly capturing the intensity of the song while taking advantage of their large configuration. Still, some of its most impressive moments shine spotlight on only one or two members.
3. TXT – CROWN
Fresh and fun, Crown‘s routine was yet another ingredient that contributed to TXT’s musical identity. Emphasizing friendship and unity, the choreography is unique and playful with an undeniably youthful charm. I love how it opens and closes with the exact same formation, giving the routine a satisfying symmetry.
2. ITZY – DALLA DALLA
Like TXT, ITZY came out of the gate with a fully-formed identity. Dalla Dalla‘s charismatic choreography helped to fuel that, punchy and enthusiastic with a sense of unpredictability that keeps eyes glued to the screen. Its chorus is particularly memorable, though the spirited bridge best highlights the group’s brand.
1. STRAY KIDS – SIDE EFFECTS
One of the year’s most unique routines, Side Effects bolstered Stray Kids with a small army of back-up dancers, allowing them to play with formations in a really theatrical way. The choreography flawlessly harnesses the song’s emotion and angst, as the guys are swallowed by the crowd only to come roaring back at the end. I was utterly captivated the first time I saw this song performed. It still feels like nothing else I’ve seen in K-pop.