She’s a polarizing figure in the girl group arena, even among SONE’s, some ignore her, some dismiss after noting she’s the dancing queen, and her partisans are PASSIONATELY protective of her. They want to see her get her due because they think she’s underutilized and under appreciated. And I can agree with that.
Yes, she can dance. I think part of the perception gap, part of the problem if you want to think of it that way, is that she is an exceptional dancer, at a level above what’s required to be successful in the girl group idol races. Of course that’s a source of professional frustration for her. Unless it’s a special stage, 95% of her dancing is conforming to what the other girls are doing, especially Soshi’s stage choreography that values uniformity. And really, Soshi’s dance style is pretty far removed from where her passions lie, with the more technically challenging disciplines of popping and locking.
Hyoyeon is best appreciated when she’s in motion. She’s most expressive when she’s allowed to be outside of the limits of the group. In quantum physics there’s a thing called Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Bear with me, really, I have a point to make. To oversimplify it, you could say, the more certain you are of an object’s position, the less certain you are of its movement. Take a perfectly still snapshot of a thrown ball. You can’t tell what direction it was going. But if you have a very blurry crappy video of that ball, you might not know to the millimeter where it was, but you have a rough idea of how it moved. Okay, so where am I going with this?
Hyoyeon is that ball. She can best communicate with motion, kinetic frenzy, rhythm, shifting positions. Not with a close up, not with a seated interview or heaven forbid, a photo. You can’t constrain her and expect to see the real Hyoyeon. This is what it means to be a dancer. Not a multi-talented idol type person who can sing great, and dance great, and do photo shoots for CF’s. Yes, she does all those things for Soshi, yes, she’s really cute, but you gotta know that it kills her to sit still and look into a camera.
That’s quite a sacrifice for her to make. She’s wants to express herself in her chosen language, where she’s really eloquent and fluent, but she’s not allowed to.
On her Strong Heart appearance recently, Hyoyeon said that after their debut, she had strong thoughts about leaving Soshi. Here she was, a DANCER, and she was waving a lollipop. Over and over and over again. Without a doubt, she’s stifled. If you think the occasional special stage is sufficient for her, you should think again. Those are done to showcase the depth of Soshi. Look, we have three/four members that can dance something other than Gee. And they do. But folks, that’s like a high school play for her. Only the high school play actors gets more time to rehearse than the Soshi members get for their special stages.
So yes, professionally, and personally, her strongest voice is kept to a whisper. But I think her expressions come out in other ways. She’s an incredibly active personality. If you were a really talkative person, but worked in a library, you’d be a fidgeted. That energy has to come out somewhere else. I think she takes that creativity, that energy and applies in some pretty unexpected directions. Most of the Soshi members have a consistent role in the group. A comfort zone, with a limited range of behavior and expected sets of responses. I think Hyoyeon takes the opportunity and becomes seven or eight different people, depending on who she’s beating up, hugging, mugging, consoling, poking, mothering, or otherwise vegetating with. She takes on the role that the other member needs. For most people, that’d be confusing and exhausting. But she needs it, otherwise she’d get hinky.
What that provides to the group is a safety net. Consider that it’s pretty stressful being in Soshi. Tons of pressure to perform at a consistently high level. People aren’t by nature consistent. They have ups and downs, good days and bad. Think about that. No idol group is more professional than our girls. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing, they’re doing the best job that they can, every day. That can only happen if there are considerable amounts of give and take within the group. The word I’m looking for is resiliency. I think Hyoyeon is a large factor in that resiliency because she can identify a need and adjust to it.
That’s what she brings to Soshi. That’s why we should all love her. I’m pretty sure that’s why the girls do.