NCT’s Choreographer Explains How Hard It Was to Work With 23 Members

In terms of members, no K-pop group can rival NCT. With 23 members and counting, NCT is by far the largest group in the industry at the moment. As many people can expect, creating a seamless choreography for a group this big is no easy feat. NCT’s choreographer is now opening up about the difficulties he encountered when trying to work with all 23 members.

NCT 127
NCT 127 | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

NCT has 23 members split into different subunits

NCT currently has 23 members: Taeyong, Taeil, Johnny, Yuta, Kun, Doyoung, Ten, Jaehyun, WinWin, Jungwoo, Lucas, Mark, Xiaojun, Hendery, Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, YangYang, Shotaro, Sungchan, Chenle, and Jisung.

Most of the members are South Korean, but there are also some from China, Japan, Thailand, the United States, and Canada.

NCT does not usually operate as a unit with all 23 members, however. They are all split into subunits, with some people working in more than one of them. Currently, there are four subunits. NCT U is the only non-fixed unit where members rotate with each promotional cycle. NCT 127 is the subunit based in Seoul. WayV is the subunit based in China. NCT Dream—also based in Seoul—used to be a rotating unit that consisted of members who are teenagers, though it has since been rebranded into a fixed unit.

NCT recently performed with all 23 members together

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The 23 members of NCT rarely congregate in the same place, but they recently came together to perform as NCT 2020. The last time they did this was in 2018 when NCT consisted of just 18 members.

Throughout the fall and winter of 2020, the members of NCT released the albums NCT 2020 Resonance Pt. 1 and NCT 2020 Resonance Pt. 2. They also released the singles “Make A Wish (Birthday Song),” “From Home,” “90’s Love,” “Work It,” and “Resonance.”

All 23 members also performed together at the Mnet Asian Music Awards and the KBS Song Festival.

NCT’s choreographer discusses the challenges of working with all 23 members

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NCT often has very jaw-dropping choreography, and when 23 members are involved, it makes for an exciting performance. However, the journey to creating choreography for such a large group is an arduous one.

The group’s choreographer, Ryu.D, who has been working with the members for five years now, opens up about this experience in a video.

Ryu.D revealed that he worked with plastic cups in place of the members to first figure out the choreography. It took him two days, and he described the process as being “so hard.” He noted that it was even more difficult than trying to arrange everyone’s rehearsal schedule.

For Ryu.D, a large part of the challenge was the fact that NCT would perform multiple songs during one performance.

“If it was just one song, we could work it out within one setting,” he shared. “Starting with ‘Make a Wish,’ ‘90’s Love,’ ‘Resonance,’ and ‘Work It’ come out in turn. We have to consider each member’s path and the formation when all of them are gathered.”

Ryu.D added, “It was truly the biggest project of my life.”

While being a choreographer to a large group is a tough job, he also revealed that the members were able to pick things up quickly and, fortunately, rehearsals went smoothly for everyone.