BTS reveals stories behind filming ‘Permission to Dance’ at UN, speech at SDG Moment

K-pop superstars and special presidential envoy BTS revealed the stories behind their “Permission to Dance” video shot in the UN General Assembly Hall and their speech at the second Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Moment of the Decade of Action meeting in New York City.

BTS in the UN General Assembly Hall for the filming of “Permission to Dance” (top) and speaking at SDG Moment meeting (Twitter, Cheong Wa Dae)

BTS spoke before world leaders at the SDG Moment on Sept. 20. After which, a video showing them performing “Permission to Dance” in the UN hall and surrounding areas was played during the meeting.

The idol group arrived in New York on the night of Sept. 18, Saturday and according to RM, immediately, they left their hotel at around 9 p.m. to film “Permission to Dance’ at the UN General Assembly Hall.

“So we left at around 9 p.m. Got the hair and makeup done at the hotel and everything, and headed out. We arrived at UN at around 12 a.m. and started ,” he said during BTS’ Naver Live broadcast on Sept. 22.

They filmed the performance in the UN hall until about 3:30 a.m. or the segment before they opened the door in the video around the 1:05 mark.

“We did that until 3:30 in the morning,” said RM and according to the group, they had about 15 takes to finish the segment.

He added, “There were supposed to be distinguished guests from other countries in the seats. And we were going to perform live, roaming all over the place. I think that could have caused trouble. Because the space was so narrow that even we could not pass by easily. And with people sitting? We can’t do anything.”

“It was not a suitable environment for a live performance,” said Jin with RM adding, “It was highly likely that there could be an accident.”

They said there were a lot of restrictions imposed in the hall “and you could not drink water in the hall,” said V.

After filming in the hall, they went back to the hotel and woke up at 6:30 a.m. to continue filming “Permission to Dance.”

“So we slept for about two, three hours. Then we got the hair and makeup done again and went back to the UN at 9, 10 o’clock and shot the rest of it,” said RM.

By the time they finished filming the whole performance, it was already about 1:30 p.m. or 2 p.m.

“The performance shoot continued for about 14, 15 hours,” said RM.

The “Permission to Dance” video on the United Nations YouTube channel has racked up 13.9 million views as of writing since its upload on Sept. 20.

BTS said the night before they spoke at the UN, “we had a speech meeting. We went over and over like five, six times,” said Jungkook.

On Sept. 20, they got up at 4 a.m., or four hours before they were at the UN at 8 a.m. Jimin said he woke up at 3 a.m. and practiced for an hour.

At one point during their speech at the UN, Jimin said, “I’m sorry” and he narrated why he did that.

“Yes, we were representing the future generations. In a way, we were delivering messages we got from the fans. Yes, take a look at the picture. I was saying how people were making friends and doing well in the online space. They were not lost. That’s what I wanted to say,” he said.

Jimin added, “And suddenly, before the last sentence, I got too nervous. I just wanted to take a peep but I was on the second page. So I turned the page. Wrong page again. I turned the page again. Wrong again. That’s why I let out a laugh like this. I said, ‘I’m sorry.’”

“And in that split second, the whole script from start to end flashed across my mind. The back of my neck was so sweaty. That three, four seconds to me was like 20 years. I was nervous because of the setting. Yes, standing in front of people and saying something. I don’t know if you noticed but my legs were shaking. During the speech, I could not stop it,” he added.

The whole video of the SDG Moment meeting, which runs for about 3 hours and 48 minutes, has garnered 6.53 million views on YouTube to date.