Though it’s shamelessly cheesy, *NSYNC’s 2000 “Bye Bye Bye” video is one of the most recognizable visuals in pop music history. The puppeteer concept, the random train scene, and the Inception-esque blue room shots have been embedded into the minds of most; however, its ultimate iconic element is without a doubt the choreography.
In a recent interview with Billboard, Bronx-bred dancer Darrin Dewitt Henson spoke about his work on the “Bye Bye Bye” video, and how he ultimately created the project’s dance routine by channeling Black Power symbolism.
“The choreography simply was a combination of a few things: the puppeteers-style dancing, which came from them singing about feeling like puppets on a string on the original track; then the Black Power fist—at the time the group did not know where the move come from, they just enjoyed doing the move,” Henson said. “This is the first time I’ve actually talked about it. And then there’s the talking hand, which was a quintessentially New York move. When a person was talking too much crap, you gave them the talking hand, the opening and closing of the first. The creation of ‘Bye Bye Bye’ happened from me growing up in the Bronx. It’s the signature move, and it will exist forever—that’s why it’s my favorite.”
The Billboard piece also features conversations with the choreographers behind Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” Beyoncé’s “7/11,” OK Go’s “Here It Goes Again,” Ciara’s “Ride,” and more.