Dance cover videos, created by fans to imitate idols’ moves on stage and in music videos, have been an essential part of global K-pop fandom culture.
On platforms like TikTok, YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels, one can easily find short clips where amateur dancers from both here and abroad replicate the choreography with incredible attention to details. These videos are often shot in places such as on the street or in a public park.
Recently, one particular locale in Seoul has risen as the ultimate setting for such dance cover content, offering filming studios that look just like K-pop music video sets.
“K-Pop Ground,” located on the second floor of a state-run tourism center in Seoul’s central district of Jongno, offers three studios, with one themed after a music video from boy band BTS and two by girl band aespa. It also has spaces not decorated with a particular theme.
One of the three-themed studios is modeled after a laundromat featured in the music video of BTS megahit "Permission to Dance.” The washing machines, carts and orange benches look just like those in the BTS video.
One room re-creates the spaceship from aespa’s “Next Level” video, while another resembles a subway train from the same act’s “Black Mamba” video.
Each studio allows users to choose the music to play and adjust color and lighting settings as per their preference.
This new playground for K-pop fans has gone viral, leading to a slew of videos under the hashtags “KPopGround” and “HiKRGround.”
An active user of social media in her 20s from Turkey who has been living in Korea for five years, Mehtap said the place is the perfect spot for K-pop fan content creators.
“You can take really cool pictures and videos there. The studios will attract a lot more foreign tourists who want to film videos that look like K-pop music videos,” she said, after visiting K-Pop Ground on a recent Saturday with a group of foreign content creators living in Korea.
K-Pop Ground is part of HiKR Ground, a tourist-friendly facility opened jointly by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization in July.
Upon entering, visitors are greeted by the “HiKR Wall,” a 31-meter-wide electronic screen displaying vivid paintings and short videos of must-visit tourist spots as well as famous scenes from local films and TV dramas.
K-Pop Ground is located on the second floor. The third floor is occupied by HiKR Art Museum, where fans of Korean drama series and cinema can learn about the filming locations of their favorite media content with a large touch-screen monitor. In a separate room, visitors can explore some of the places through virtual reality.
The museum’s ongoing main exhibition features sculptures by contemporary artists, including Gwon Os-ang and Suh Do-ho, on the theme of tourism assets in Korea, ranging from local festivals to traditional Korean houses.
On the fourth floor, visitors can get information about places to visit in Korea for wellness tourism through a large screen showing videos of related tourist attractions such as forest trails on Jeju Island and museums in the mountains around Wonju, Gangwon Province.
Meanwhile, personal tourism guidance is offered at an information center on the fifth floor with services available in Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese.
The second, third and fourth floors of HiKR Ground are open from Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., while the first and fifth floors stay open until 9 p.m. Admission is free of charge.
“In response to the growing demand for travel to Korea, HiKR Ground will strengthen its partnerships with local media and entertainment companies to develop various facilities and programs that could satisfy international tourists’ interest in Korean culture,” a Culture Ministry official said.
According to data from the Korea Tourism Organization, 7,520 foreign visitors came to South Korea in October, sharply up from 333 foreign tourists in January.