Thao My editor(Vietnam)
Street Woman Fighter premiered on MNET this Summer, and its impact on the often-underappreciated South Korean dancing industry has been exponential. Through this program, eight female dance teams from across South Korea competed for the title of ‘Best Dance Team’. Even if there was only one eventual winning team, every dancer has benefited from the explosive success of Street Woman Fighter.Backup dancers have not always necessarily been unknown, but they have never been widely recognizable to the public. When EXO’s Kai had his solo debut last year, all eyes were instead on a girl behind him. Sporting sleek black hair and a charismatically cold gaze, an unknown backup dancer radiated beauty and viewers picked up on it. Garnering millions of views on edited “fancams”, the public came to the same conclusion. “The girl in the glasses is the best!”. But despite this wide public adoration, few would recognize her name, Noze.
Chungha is one of the most well-known solo artists in South Korea, lauded for her incredible dance prowess and performances. With intricate, feminine-driven moves, Chungha’s choreography has been widely recognized as some of the most impressive in the industry. Behind the choreography is a trio of dancers, who may have only been recognized vaguely as Chungha’s backup dancers.
Dancers have constantly been overlooked, especially in the K-POP industry where having countless nameless dancers on a stage is expected. Dancers are consistently overshadowed, and when their recognition happens it is often short-lived. When all eyes are on the idols in the middle, it is hard to recognize the dozens of dancers behind them that are contributing to the performance. Artists in their own right, these dancers had skills and talents that needed to be showcased. On that basis, MNET developed their newest survival show program, Street Woman Fighter.
Street Woman Fighter, despite a relatively late time slot and new subject matter, exploded in popularity in South Korea. One can cite factors such as the known participants (Noze, Chaeyoung), drama, personalities, and performances. But no matter what caused the boom in popularity, it did not simply end at higher viewership. After the series run, YGX, LACHICA, WANT, WAYB, CocaNButter, PROWDMON, HolyBang, and HOOK have become common knowledge.
YGX, YG Entertainment's in-house choreography team, was recently interviewed by Jessi. Jessi’s song “Cold Blooded” received choreography made by the dance teams of the show, propelling her song to greater trending popularity. In their interview, between fun and games, YGX revealed how their schedule is now completely packed from morning to night. One member of YGX was so busy that she had to leave the interview early to arrive at her next responsibility.
In the show’s second mission, Noze choreographed the Nicki Minaj song Hey Mama (2014). Although the moves were seemingly simple and doubted by other participants, it was immediately addictive. At the first thud of the song, many people across Korea could replicate the iconic dance moves. Covers and videos of various people and celebrities doing Noze’s dance have reached views in the hundreds of millions. From this, Noze has graduated from mere “pretty dancer” to influencer and celebrity in her own right. She recently has signed opportunities for brand deals, commercials, music video features, and more.
With all this success, Street Woman Fighter’s concert tour “ON THE STAGE” started this month. Despite COVID-19 preventing concert-goers from cheering vocally for their favorite dancers, they expressed their love through their presence filling up Jamsil Student Stadium. Until the end of the year, the dancers have five more stadiums to fill up as well. Never before have there been such large concerts for dancers who traditionally would be playing a “background role” at other’s concerts. Known K-POP backup dancers such as Emma, Eevee, Jane, and Simeez expressed their gratitude at the concert.
“Back up dancer” has become a dated term. Although they are not the most well-known act on the stage, they are also just as artistically important and contribute to the entire performance. They are also performing, and that has created a change in terminology. They are not just dancers in the back, but rather they are simply dancers giving their best performance.
Street Woman Fighter marks a monumental change in the perception of dancers in Korea and allows dancers to be rewarded for their hard work as they deserve. From Sweet Woman Fighter, spin-offs have been developed and begun filming. After the successful concert tour across Korea, the mentors of Street Woman Fighter’s teams will mentor the teenage dance teams of the upcoming “Street Girl Fighter”. After that will come “Street Man Fighter”, and more recognition for dancers on every level.
Thao My editor(Vietnam)