The two men have strong ties to Seattle and to dance, but they came from very different worlds. For the sake of diversity and their art and community, they’re more than willing to stand side by side.
Daniel Wilkins, founder and artistic director of the DASSdance troupe, grew up in Edmonds, the son of two dance choreographers. He moved to New York City, started his troupe, then brought it back to Seattle.
Seven years ago, he started something he hoped would go beyond his own company. The All 4 1 dancepalooza brings together dancers young and old, students and professionals from all over Western Washington, to learn all kinds of dance together.
“The dance world is still set off into categories, and some people don't meet often,” Wilkins said. “You have the competition school that never meets the ballet school. So my goal is to have a mix of all those people. Creating a unique atmosphere that can be fun for everyone. It's also an excuse to get really excellent teachers for the kids. We have the opportunity to get the best of the best.”
Tyrone Crosby, better known as Koach Tee Giggz, went south from Seattle to Los Angeles, instead of New York. He got his fill of “backup dancing,” moved back here, and started what became Kutt’N’Up Entertainment, featuring his distinct blend of hip-hop dance with New Orleans bounce style. Described by Wilkins as “an incredible mentor,” he’s been involved in All 4 1 since near the beginning, and he’s excited about the cross-fertilization.
“For the dancers that are not typically from a hip-hop background,” Crosby said, “to go from being scared and nervous, to being excited, that's just eye-opening. And vice versa. For my dancers from a hip-hop background, to be excited about ballet and classical training, is also exciting.”
This year’s All 4 1 dancepalooza runs Friday to Sunday, March 10-12, at the Broadway Performance Hall. It includes two public performances, at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 11, and 5:30 p.m. March 12.
Dance students will probably look harder at the private master classes offered through the weekend. These include Wilkins teaching Contemporary Dance and Partnering Dance and Crosby/Giggz with Hip-Hop, plus Jonathan Porretta with Ballet, Davione Gordon with Jazz, and Jill Marissa teaching Acro, a very strenuous combination of dance and circus/gymnasium-style acrobatics.
“Last year, for the first time, we did a finale,” Wilkins said. “It was Koach Tee and his hip-hop class, so basically everyone who learned the hip-hop combination did a finale. And that was a great way to end the show because we had 50 to 80 kids doing their thing together. And we'll do that again this year.
“Otherwise,” he said, the dancers “rehearse [their All 4 1 public performances] for a while. They'll do months of practice.”
“You see a larger amount of inner-city kids,” Crosby said, “never been to a ballet class, never been to a lyrical or a jazz class, now, that are now meeting and networking and cross-training with a whole 'nother graphic of dance communities around the Northwest, which is just amazing.”
For more information about All 4 1 dancepalooza, click here.