Lounging on the overstuffed chairs and couches of All That! Dance Company’s studio, Jordan Ross and twin brothers Coleman and Kaelen Byrum look like any clean-cut, athletic 18-year-olds. Only Ross’s I.C.U. Dance Crew T-shirt gives any indication that the guys might not be into just the usual track and football.
Yet get them and the other two crew members, 18-year-olds Logan McGann and Aidan Ziegler-Hansen, on stage and there’s no mistaking that these guys are an award-winning hip-hop dance group.
“It’s my mom’s fault!” Coleman says, laughing and pointing to his mother, Sarah Beth Byrum, All That! Dance Company’s artistic director and owner. She has owned the studio since her sons were tots. “We started taking classes at age 3 [and] stuck with it,” Coleman says. “We had friends who started taking classes around that age, 3 or 4, so we were just like, they were doing it and we wanted to do it too.”
The I.C.U. Crew, which stands for “In Constant Unity,” are all ready to embark on their post-high-school lives. But in the 15 years that they’ve been dancing together, they’ve experienced a world that only dance could have opened up to them, and they’re helping bring up the next generation of young male dancers.
These young men are not only strong and smart; they know they’re doing something important. “You don’t see a lot of strong, young male dancers come together to form a troupe,” Ross says. “So this could be considered unusual, but it’s also really empowering to show that men can dance and it’s not frowned upon. I think most of society thinks that dance is not a sport, but it is. You’re working hard and using muscles that you never thought you had. The next day you’re just so sore!”
They really are “in constant unity” with each other, laughing and echoing each other’s thoughts and finishing each other’s sentences as longtime friends will do. Sarah Beth Byrum is proud of having worked with each young man and the level to which they’ve taken their craft.
“I think it’s really great to see confident young male dancers in the dance community,” she says. “And we have over 30 younger guys coming up that are dancing now. These guys come in and work with them and assist the instructors; they’ve led camps and done choreography with them … they are handing down that legacy as males in the dance world and that is really significant. To have confident young male dancers as mentors to these young guys is really important.”
The crew first competed when the guys were in 6th grade. They typically compete three to four times per year. They have danced in New York City and were featured on ABC World News. They recently performed in Disneyland, Seattle and Las Vegas, received rave reviews for a weeklong stint as cruise ship entertainment and have taken workshops from world-renowned choreographers. “And you’re with your friends,” says Ross, “which is the best part.”