K-pop dance group takes on rodeo


Photo provided by Mary Behringer

Karma Krew performers prepare to dance on the Stars Over Texas stage at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Among the sea of cowboy boots, flared jeans, and flannel shirts, a group of teenagers wearing white shirts and pants danced in precise synchrony to upbeat K-pop music on the Stars Over Texas stage. The music was unfamiliar to some ears; at the rodeo, most people were accustomed to hearing the mellow ballads of country music. But by the end of the show, adults and teenagers alike bobbed their heads to the tempo and cheered when the dancers took a bow. 

Karma Krew, a Houston-based dance group, performed at the the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on March 12. After Karma Krew members danced to two K-pop songs, they hosted a random dance challenge where audience members were encouraged to join in if they knew the choreography. 

“I think people looking on were surprised because the rodeo just listed us as Karma Krew, and they had no idea what that was or what we were performing,” junior and Karma Krew organizer Sarah Behringer said. “They all seemed pretty into the performance – people [stopped] walking to pause and watch us dance. That was really exciting to be like, oh my gosh, they’re noticing us.” 

Freshman Riya Madhav, a dancer for Karma Krew, had only been a member of the group for a few weeks before the performance at the rodeo. 

“I was really nervous – I don’t think I had performed somewhere so big before,” Madhav said. “But when [the show] happened, I knew I was around people that I loved and trusted, so I was really excited.”

Karma Krew received the opportunity to perform from a past member who suggested they talk to the rodeo planning committee, which was looking for more acts on the Stars Over Texas stage. 

“It was almost a miracle,” Sarah said. “One of our former members, Julie, had emailed us, and she was like, I think you guys would be a great fit.” 

After reaching out to the committee, all they could do was wait for a response. 

“Most of us were just anxiously [wondering], are they gonna say yes to us as a performance?” Sarah said. “But they did say yes. Basically, all we had to do was ask and they were like, yeah, we looked at your page. We like what you do. Come perform.” 

Sarah’s twin sister, junior and manager Mary Behringer, said she believes the rodeo was interested in Karma Krew because of the culture they showcase. 

“They didn’t just want country singers or white people that always perform at the rodeo – they were looking to get more diverse,” Mary said. “Us performing at the rodeo was kind of trying to prove to the rodeo that the community wants more K-pop at the rodeo. It’s something that people want, and it’ll be something good even though it’s new.” 

Karma Krew’s members, ranging from middle school to college students, include a wide variety of people from the Houston area, with some students attending KISD schools while others are located in HISD. As a result, coordinating schedules was a challenge for the dancers, who rehearsed for the rodeo performance during their spare time. 

“On weekends, we took a good two to three hours [to practice], but it all worked together so well because everyone was on task,” Madhav said. “Sometimes we joked around a little bit, but everyone is just really amazing so we got it done pretty fast.” 

Beyond the rodeo, Karma Krew also performs at other locations such as Hermann Park. Through these shows and random dance challenges, they share their love of K-pop and bring together a community. 

“Being a part of Karma Krew is so fun,” Madhav said. “Everyone’s so nice, and we all just enjoy each other’s company. We’re just really happy people.”


Click here to access Karma Krew’s website.