This year, SM Entertainment welcomed a new performance director to its ranks: Kim Jun Seok, former director for YouTube choreography channel ARTBEAT. As someone who knows SM Entertainment’s dancers inside and out, who better to judge which stars in the agency are best on stage?
After Kim Jun Seok opened up a Q&A session on Instagram this week, one fan asked for his thoughts on which artists are really good at dancing—and the director couldn’t help but gush about his top picks. According to Kim, most of the stars at SM are good dancers, but these three idols are “really crazy” talented.
1. Kai (EXO)
First on Kim Jun Seok’s list is EXO’s main dancer and center, Kai.
Kai has been dancing ever since he was a young child. At the age of just eight years old, he began training in jazz dance, moving on to ballet in third grade. With such a long and rich background in dancing, it’s no surprise Kai made an impression on SM Entertainment’s performance director.
His background in jazz and ballet have given him a fluid dance style, but he also excels at sharp moves too. Some of the biggest strengths he’s known for are his mesmerizing body rolls and torso waves as well as his perfectly formed body lines and angles.
No matter how fast and how complex the moves are, Kai always manages to execute them smoothly without a single limb out of place.
2. Taemin (SHINee)
Next up is SHINee’s main dancer and maknae, Taemin.
Taemin discovered dancing when he watched a Michael Jackson performance in sixth grade, and he’s been hooked ever since. He passed SM Entertainment’s notoriously difficult open audition at just twelve years old, and despite his short training period, he went on to become one of the agency’s best dancers.
You can tell Taemin is a natural-born dancer by how well he freestyles. Like Kai, he has a lot of fluidity to his dance, but he tends to express it through his arms and legs rather than his torso. On that note, his footwork is some of the cleanest and crispest in the industry.
In a separate Instagram story, Kim Jun Seok said that despite the praise he’s received for directing Taemin’s new “Criminal” music video, he’s certain Taemin would’ve done just as well no matter who was in charge.
3. Taeyong (NCT 127)
Last but not least, the final artist Kim Jun Seok named as a top performer is NCT 127’s main dancer, main rapper, and center, Taeyong.
When you look at Taeyong’s dancing today, you wouldn’t believe that his SM Entertainment dance teacher described him as “hopeless” when he first joined the company. While his teacher once thought he’d never make it as an idol, he put the work in to prove anyone can become a star on stage.
Not only can Taeyong follow all the steps of a choreography perfectly, he also knows how to put his own spin on the moves without looking out of place. He always matches his energy to the song itself, whether he needs to be sharp and hard-hitting or fluid and smooth.
He’s so skilled, he’s even beginning to choreograph his own moves. The choreographer for “Kick It” once revealed that Taeyong was the mastermind behind the iconic step where Mark jumps off his knee.