Kwaito and K-pop? This is the evolution of dance

 
 
 

The K-pop beat drops and Lindsay Setlema comes alive. The sensational style of music and dance originated in South Korea, but the phenomenon has swept across the globe. As a professional dancer, 21-year-old Setlema is adding his own flair to it. After bringing home victory from the 2018 Changwon K-Pop World Festival, he’s earned a name for himself by shaking up its tempo – with kwaito. “I feel like I’m teaching the world about how incredible Africans are,” he says.

Setlema has always held music and movement at the centre of his being. Hip-hop was once his main tune. But then a participant in the preliminary round of the K-pop competition, which was hosted in 75 countries, suggested he try out. Setlema jumped at the risk. “I was immediately drawn to the style,” he says. It took two choreographed routines and a video entry just to reach the auditions. Setlema proved to be a fiery candidate, clearly in line for the win. His knowledge of K-pop may have been limited, but his passion for dance was infinite.

Setlema’s success at the regional round took him to the finals in South Korea. Buzzing with excitement, Setlema spun the genre to the next level. The bold dancer threw African music into the mix and taught his peers kwaito moves. Setlema was undeniably the favourite on the world stage. He returned with the K-pop community’s admiration and the People’s Choice Award. By adding our nation’s flair into his routine, Setlema set the world of K-pop in a tizz. “I look forward to representing South Africa in the future,” he says. As cultures continue to integrate, we can be proud that our unique rhythm stands strong.