by Patrice Toston
Recently I had the opportunity to catch up with Kutt ‘N’ Up Entertainment’s founder Tyrone Crosby as he and the Kutt N Up dance team celebrated a spectacular performance at Seattle’s Bubbling Brown Sugar all-city dance competition. Known to all as Koach T (and yes that spelling is correct, “Always with a K”, he says with emphasis), Crosby was happy to share a little about his program’s history.
Originally from Chickasha, Oklahoma, Koach T moved to the northwest in 1999 after his hometown became too small of a stage for his dreams and visions. In his youth Crosby established a name for himself by dancing and entertaining audiences in his small hometown, so he knows how to steer the passion of his students into great performances that the crowd will enjoy.
Crosby’s N The Kutt studio is a Seattle based company and dance group, better yet, dance-family that has been around since 2004. The program stemmed from a high school dance program that Koach T had formed at Renton High School, and quickly went on to become one of the most imitated and celebrated team in the Seattle area. For many of the 300 current and former students the team has become a second family with a community of parents and adults giving the kids comfort, confidence, and the ability to express themselves in creative ways.
Current student Queen Howell has been dancing since she was 6 years old and joined Kutt ‘N’ Up in December. “I love the energy and creativity of the team, and especially like that Koach T pushes us to be the best that we can be,” she says. Adding that she looks forward to learning new dance styles in the future, on her way to one-day attending an historically black college and majoring in performing arts.
I had the privilege to see Koach and his young dancers in their element as they prepared for their evening practice. The positive vibe and presence at the studio was constant, even as different kids came flowing through the room. Everyone seemed genuinely excited to be there. When watching Koach T’s group there is a feeling of comfort and family style relationships are evident, true to what Crosby preaches and teaches about the program.
Over the past two years I have been able to attend two of Kutt ‘N’ Up’s summer musicals, each with a different theme. Both years that I attended I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism of the production and the well-over a thousand people that came to see the show each night. There’s music, singing, dancing, and even a few laughs that keep you drawn-in and focused on what is going on, which can’t be said for all musical theater.
But beyond the professionalism and the turnout of the crowd, the overall performance and experience exceeded what I had imagined for a performing cast consisting entirely of kids. Over the past few years, I have been to a numerous amount of dance shows and productions, but none of them can compare to the performances of Kutt ‘N’ Up. I think that the fact that Koach T puts a bit of a hip-hop spin and excitement into classic songs is what makes each show so interesting. For me there is a special connects in seeing and hearing those songs brought to life again by a dance group composed of mostly minority children from inner-city Seattle ~ many from the same neighborhood and areas that I grew up in. Experiencing this in person is exciting and uplifting, and the student enthusiasm is contagious.