This is the first part of a mini series on talented foreign dancers who have been recruited by K-pop agencies to choreograph dances for their groups.
Bailey Sok is a young dance prodigy who has choreographed for top entertainment agency SM Entertainment’s girl groups, Red Velvet and aespa, at the age of 15 and 17 respectively.
Via Steezy Blog
Bailey started dancing from a very young age, having been trained in a variety of dance styles
Bailey started out being formally trained in ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, lyrical and hip hop - dance styles which she had been learning since a young age. Her wide repertoire of dance styles made her an incredibly versatile dancer and a fast learner, attributes which contributed to her proficiency at such a young age. She decided to shift her focus towards honing her hip-hop dance skills when she was ten years old.
Bailey then started competitive dancing & appeared on public dance shows
She started dancing competitively at Dance Precisions group, under the tutelage of jazz teacher Molly Long when she was 11, before switching to Plain Dancin’. One of her earliest public television appearances was a jazz dance performance on Season 9 of America’s Got Talent with her dance group Buns and Roses.
Video URL: https://youtu.be/5liRBWYOiuY
At the age of 14, Bailey went on tour with The PULSE, an international travelling dance convention. Upon returning from the tour, she took up acting and vocal classes to expand her list of skills. She also continued to take classes in ballet and contemporary dance while devoting some time to pursuing golf, one of her favorite hobbies. In contrast to her superior dance skills, she considers herself an amateur at golf.
Bailey then went on to compete in Season 2 of NBC’s reality television dance competition show, World of Dance, as part of junior dance group S-Rank. She was the youngest dancer in that group at the time, having been just 13 years old when the show started. S-Rank eventually climbed the ranks and made it to the final round of that season.
Bailey has also stated before that she is greatly inspired by and looks up to Melvin Timtim, the leader and member of S-Rank. She spent a lot of her teenage years training under and learning from Melvin, and much of her current dancing and choregraphing style is greatly influenced by him as a result.
Bailey subsequently travelled all over the world to teach dance classes in Australia, Asia and Europe. She was the youngest dance instructor at the Fair Play Dance Camp in Krakow, Poland, which hosted one of Europe’s biggest dance conventions. Her keen proficiency as a teacher and a practitioner of dance led her to take on the challenge of choreographing dance routines as well, which was when she also began creating choreographies for K-pop artists.
Creating K-pop choreography
Bailey collaborated with a group of professional dancers, including Ellen Kim, to choreograph, perform and record a dance video for e-sports game League of Legends’ K/DA - POP/STARS music video. The choreography was created for K/DA, a virtual supergroup which was created and conceptualized as part of promotional material for the game’s 2018 world finals tournament.
The dance music video featuring the choreography which Bailey participated in creating has reached over 521 million views at the time of writing. The behind-the-scenes dance video which she was featured in also reached 7 million views in 3.5 months and has accumulated over 14 million views at the time of writing.
Several commentators who watched the behind-the-scenes dance video praised Bailey’s facial expressions and energy which she kept up while dancing.
Video URL: https://youtu.be/qaAkvzLSg0s
Bailey continued her work on League of Legends’ promotional material by choreographing the dance for and starring and performing in the concept music video for the 2020 K/DA promotional song, DRUM GO DUM.
Video URL: https://youtu.be/E_PbH5y70Tc
In 2019, Bailey was part of a group of dancers entrusted with creating the choreography for one of SM Entertainment’s most prominent girl groups, Red Velvet. She choreographed the dance for their 2019 release Psycho, and the music video surpassed 36 million views in a week.
Instagram post link: https://www.instagram.com/p/B6lZcnWgsM-/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Bailey worked with another of SM Entertainment’s groups again in 2021 - this time with aespa, one of the company’s newly-debuted and highly-anticipated girl groups.
She created key parts of the Savage choreography which eventually made it into the final performance and music videos. Many fans praised the choreography’s crucial and iconic moves in the chorus of the song, which were attention-grabbing and easy for amateur dancers to remember, which helped to further promote the group’s comeback.
The music video for Savage went on to achieve 30.7 million views in the first 24 hours of its release, making aespa the third most-viewed female K-pop act on YouTube, a commendable feat for a newly-formed group which was less than a year old.
Instagram post link: https://www.instagram.com/p/CUvGrAdpI7e/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Video URL: https://youtu.be/E7TCABeBlUo
Bailey also collaborated with Steezy Studio, Geffen and HYBE - the Korean entertainment company behind K-pop group BTS - to create and film choreography for the agency’s promotional material as part of its 2022 global girl group audition campaign.
Bailey’s most recent work in the K-pop world has been with soloist and GOT7 member Jackson Wang, where she starred in a music video together with him for his single, Cruel.
Bailey’s proficiency and passion for dance from such a young age have led many to deem her a dance prodigy. Having had the chance to choreograph for major K-pop entertainment companies with international audiences and consumers is a feat that few foreign dancers can boast about. Bailey’s persistence, hard work and sheer passion is something that has enabled her to achieve much success in the dance industry.
To date, she has 2 million followers on Instagram and over 360,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, with each dance video averaging hundreds of thousands to millions of views. She currently teaches classes at dance studios all over Los Angeles and films dance tutorials which are posted on YouTube channels of several dance studios. She is also an instructor primarily based at STEEZY Studio.