ATX KDC, a student-led dance crew at The University of Texas at Austin, are a vibrant community that seamlessly blends the beats of K-pop with the rhythmic pulse of modern dance. Established in 2007 by a group of friends eager to explore Korean pop culture and contemporary dance styles, ATX KDC have evolved into a tight-knit organization that thrives on versatility and individual expression. 

The crew has progressed into a powerhouse on campus and a dynamic community under the leadership of Katie Zhang and Jinho Rhee who spoke with EnVi over Zoom. The passionate and skilled duo shared the crew’s creative process, global impact, commitment to fostering community, and the cherished memories that form the foundation of ATX KDC’s journey.

Head Director: Katie Zhang
Secretary: Jinho Rhee

ATX KDC foster a collaborative atmosphere where members have the freedom to express their individuality while sharing a common love for dance. The crew showcases their talents through mesmerizing performances that fuse traditional dance elements with the infectious energy of K-pop. As the group continues to grow, they remain not only a dance organization but a social hub for students who share a passion for K-pop and dance. 

The Creative Process

Auditions are held each semester, inviting both experienced and novice dancers to become a part of their family. The audition process emphasizes the crew’s commitment to both K-pop and modern dance genres. Once accepted into the crew, members are encouraged to take on leadership roles and guide a team through choreography. After learning the choreography, the team decides on their wardrobe and either films a cover or prepares for a live performance.

The creative process emphasizes individual expression, with members having the freedom to interpret choreography through their wardrobe choices. Styling is a big part of embodying a concept and the crew is very skilled at emulating K-pop groups. Secretary Jinho Rhee explained that members often borrow clothing from each other to complete their outfits.

ATX KDC’s creative control extend beyond the dance floor and styling to the selection of locations for their performances. In their YouTube videos, the crew can be seen at various locations in Austin, Texas including the UT Austin campus, The Domain, Mueller Park, etc. Each location serves as a canvas for the crew to paint their visual narrative and show their artistry.

Sharing Their Talent with the World 

The crew’s global impact resonates through their compelling YouTube presence. Their performances not only showcase collective artistry but also spark engagement and acclaim from audiences worldwide. ATX KDC have gained a following of 9k on YouTube and 2k on their Instagram. Additionally, the group’s participation in competitions, notably the UT Austin Unity event, showcases their achievements and recognition within the broader dance community.

ATX KDC’s YouTube channel feature a collection of mesmerizing performances that have garnered widespread engagement. Noteworthy among them is the crew’s 360° cover of EXO’s “Call Me Baby.” Presenting their energetic choreography and infectious enthusiasm. Katie Zhang acted as co-leader for this cover in 2022 and it remains her favorite performance to date.

Secretary Jinho Rhee also shared her favorite performance with EnVi. This particular performance marked Jinho’s introduction to vogueing, adding a unique and personal touch to the experience. The performance took place at the UT Austin Unity competition organized by the Omega fraternity on campus in Spring 2023. The choreography was a mashup, seamlessly blending songs from XG, THE BOYZ, and CHUNG HA. The crew secured a well-deserved second place, a testament to their remarkable versatility and commanding stage presence.

Fostering Community

ATX KDC go beyond being just a dance organization; they serve as a social hub where diverse individuals connect over shared interests in K-pop and dance. Talent, passion, and dedication take precedence over formal dance training. The crew’s emphasis on diversity and acceptance creates an environment where individuals of varying dance levels feel welcome.

The crew’s journey is not without challenges, but it’s through overcoming these hurdles that individuals within ATX KDC have experienced significant personal growth. Many members, including Jinho herself, started their dance journeys as self-taught fans, driven by a deep passion for K-pop and dance. The crew’s commitment to providing a supportive environment has allowed individuals to flourish, pushing beyond their comfort zones and refining their skills.

ATX KDA 2023 Crew

Making Memories

Beyond the rhythmic precision and coordinated movements lies a collection of cherished memories for ATX KDC members. Katie and Jinho shared personal reflections on their favorite moments, from post-performance heart-to-hearts to memorable retreats in Galveston. 

For Katie, a particularly precious memory is the first post-COVID performance, a poignant return to the stage after a challenging period. The non-dance memory that stands out for her is an intimate gathering at the park after filming, where heart-to-heart conversations flowed throughout the night.

Jinho, on the other hand, highlights KDC’s 2023 retreat, where members booked an Airbnb in Galveston for two to three days. The crew filmed a vlog to capture all the memories and bonding moments made on the trip.

ATX KDC’s Impact

ATX KDC are a celebration of diversity, expression, and shared passion. Joining this dance crew is an invitation to become part of a supportive family away from home, create enduring memories, and immerse oneself in the vibrant world of Korean pop culture.

As the crew continues to evolve, the rhythm of ATX KDC resonate as an inspiration at UT Austin that goes beyond the dance floor, leaving its mark on the hearts of its members and the world.

Check out ATX KDC’s latest cover above and follow them on YouTube and Instagram for more performances and updates!

For more cultural content, check out EnVi’s newest gift guide for the AAPI foodie here!