Look out Parris Goebel, K-pop (Korean pop) choreographer Rina Chae is wearing her crown as Queen of NZ K-pop proudly.

In a week where K-pop groups have stunned audiences at Saturday Night Live and Coachella, Chae is prouder than ever of the genre and says New Zealand is catching on too.

"In New Zealand it is very much growing, and in fact, there are many undercover K-pop fan groups that are not as out there, but luckily I got to meet many of them through the K-pop events I've done with Satellites," Chae tells Spy.

Throughout this year she has been choreographing various projects for Satellites, an organisation that represents diverse Asian artistry, and provides Auckland with fresh events and experiences. Chae's next event is in October called Zoe and the K-pop Kids at the Bruce Mason Centre.


The internationally-renowned choreographer started her professional dancing career in 2002. K-pop became her favourite genre in 2013 when she danced for IU at KCON Music Festival in Los Angeles.

She has worked and danced all over the globe with some of the world's hottest music artists including Beyonce and Justin Bieber, and choreographed for BoA, Stephanie Kim, SF9 and Monsta X. Over the last year, Chae has come back to New Zealand to inspire more dance enthusiasts.

These days her focus is also on making choreographies for K-pop idols back in Korea via footage, which she sends through for them to study and learn. She is also a K-pop choreography agent, meaning she scouts and hires choreographers from all over the world to send their choreographies for their new singles and albums.

"K-pop's massive growth is β€” it's catchy, so the public will easily know the moves that go with the song when they hear it. Not too much pop music makes you dance β€” the moves that the artist or the backup dancers do - unless it's iconic, like Beyonce's Single Ladies."
Speaking of Beyonce β€” working with her nearly didn't happen.

"It was a crazy experience. It was a roller-coaster ride β€” from auditioning, being on hold, let go and getting rejected, double-booking her job with a commercial and not being able to make her Billboard awards."

"I actually thought our paths would never cross then before I was due to come home, the choreographer called me to come in for her MTV awards rehearsal. I guess when you let go and let the universe work its magic, things happen."

Chae is married to a fellow dancer Zed (Zed Nufable), who specialises in hip-hop and is a well-respected street dancer and judge in NZ and Australia.

"We are off to Mexico to judge a K-pop dance competition and teach. I will also be teaching some workshops at an academy in NYC, and when we are back in August, we are planning on opening up some exciting classes for teens, young adults, and adults can join too.