The story of Bae Bae — a high-hearted, high-fructose dance night dedicated entirely to K-pop — begins on Mia Steinle’s couch.
“Maybe five or six years ago, I was watching a Korean show on Netflix and I started looking up songs that I heard in the show,” the Bae Bae co-founder says. “At first I was a little embarrassed. I’m a grown woman well beyond the boy-band listening years. But after a while, I started to own it and be proud of my K-pop fandom.”
K-pop’s worldwide fan base continues to grow while South Korea keeps minting a seemingly endless supply of vocal pop groups with pristine melodies and perfect hair. Steinle and her friend Sean Harris love this music, and after launching Bae Bae in 2015, they’ve since settled in at U Street Music Hall — a nightclub where they can camp out in the DJ booth, leaving the stage wide open for the night’s most courageous dancers. Whenever a song by BTS, or EXO, or Big Bang, or 2NE1, or Black Pink comes sugar-rushing from the speakers, attendees blitz the stage to perform the choreography from that song’s music video.
“We get all these amazing dancers who know all the choreography to all the songs,” Steinle says. “But it’s an inclusive environment, too, and I don’t think all fandoms have that kind of reputation. When you meet another K-pop fan [at Bae Bae], they’re not quizzing you to see how much you know.”
But if you’d like to learn the steps, they’ll be happy to show you how.
Dance night: Aug. 4 at 10:30 p.m. at U Street Music Hall. $10.