How K-pop groups create community during COVID-19

K-pop dancers have found creative ways to continue to foster community and produce amazing content throughout the pandemic.

Harmonyc+Movement+poses+in+Times+Square++for+the+thumbnail+of+their+cover+of+HyunA%E2%80%99s+I%E2%80%99m+Not+Cool.+K-pop+dance+groups+have+managed+to+find+ways+to+continue+to+develop+their+community+and+create+content+during+the+COVID-19+pandemic.+%28Staff+Photo+by+Jake+Capriotti%29

Jake Capriotti

Harmonyc Movement poses in Times Square for the thumbnail of their cover of HyunA’s I’m Not Cool. K-pop dance groups have managed to find ways to continue to develop their community and create content during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Staff Photo by Jake Capriotti)

By Destine Manson, Contributing Writer

Whether it’s in an impromptu dance class in the space between your bed frame and your dresser or a filmed video with some friends in Washington Square Park, the K-pop movement is everywhere. We all know at least one person who is obsessed with the choreography to a catchy K-pop single. K-pop groups have created an international wave of movement with their distinct dance style utilizing classic boy and girl band moves and hip-hop elements.

Aaliyah Flournoy founded the K-pop dance team Hush Crew with one of her friends after being inspired by the intricate choreography and star power of some of the genre’s biggest artists.

“I had some friends who came over… and they showed me this K-drama called Dream High, and I was addicted right away,” Flournoy said. “I saw that K-pop groups like 2PM and 2NE1 and like a ton of K-pop groups were in it.”

Hush Crew has since competed in different K-pop cover competitions. They have also racked up over 5,000,000 views on their YouTube channel. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Hush Crew has had to alter their usual practice techniques and adopt new safety measures to keep the team healthy. This includes having a COVID tracker, so people who dance within the group are aware of who’s recently been tested.

Teams in the New York City area like the dance team Harmonyc have also found creative ways to practice while still abiding by CDC guidelines.

“When we first started doing covers again, we would spread out the rehearsal times and we wouldn’t do groups with more than five people,” Harmonyc Co-Director Victoria Tyszka said. “We were practicing at Penn Station because there’s a window area and it wasn’t open air but there’s a lot more space to breathe and stand further away from each other.”

Harmonyc is a New York City-based team with members from New York, New Jersey and as far away as California. Harmonyc has also built a substantial following on their YouTube channel with a mix of “K-pop in Public” performances and original choreography videos. 

“I think we all made really strong friendships and relationships that are going to last a really long time, and I think that’s probably the best part about doing K-pop dance covers,” Tyszka said. 

As the world has adapted to the pandemic, so have K-pop fans. A number of teams including NYU dance team KNESIS have been posting K-pop in Quarantine videos, which stitch together clips of team members in different parts of the world performing a new cover K-pop dance. 

“We aren’t allowed to film ourselves with other people in groups because of NYU policy, so we’ve resorted to doing online covers,” KNESIS Vice President and CAS junior Nicole Nguyen said.

What may have started out as a common interest for a lot of K-pop dance team members has turned into something more, becoming a beacon of light for many during this time.

“KNESIS” allowed me to discover myself,” Nguyen said. “I know that sounds really cheesy, but it helped me discover my passion for dancing, even though I’m not the greatest dancer. I realized it’s something that I have fun doing, especially when I’m doing it with my friends.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 12, 2021 e-print edition. Email Destine Manson at [email protected]