Published on February 12th, 2013 | by Rachel Moreshead


The DASH Center Releases the Beast, Hosting Northwest Dance Crews at KRUNK 8

This Saturday the Theatre on the Square will come alive.

The DASH Center’s dynamic dance production KRUNK is in its 8th year and the concentration of talent, dedication, and teamwork slated to take over the downtown Tacoma venue promises to be nothing short of electrifying. In anticipation, I spoke with Charles Simmons, the DASH Center’s Director of Dance and instructor integral to the production this year.

Reality Check Dance Team

Reality Check Dance Team performs at the First Night Campus MLK Stage. Photo by Scott Haydon

Simmons was born and raised in Tacoma and has been involved with DASH for nine years; starting as a Reality Check Dance Team member in high school and moving on to instruct dance at DASH after graduating.

Although KRUNK is the one time each year DASH reaches beyond its Tacoma borders and features dance teams from all over Western Washington, Simmons sees the event as the annual culmination of his work with his Reality Check students: “I’m being kind of… cocky about it,” he says with some reservation on word choice.  With a smile he adds, “I just know they’re going to kill it.”

Simmons elaborates on this confidence, knowing Reality Check will be showing off their skills with the cream of the dance crew crop from Olympia to Seattle; he tells me their abilities are the inspiration for KRUNK’s 2013 theme.

STR8 Beastin it! was inspired by the compelling aptitude and attitude of the DASH dancers: “There is always that one dancer who’s just so into what they’re doing that no one can even touch them.” Charles explains the typical scenario where just one stands out against others going through the motions, but this is not in the case with Reality Check.  “Every single one of my kids has that beast in them and you can see it.”

Reality Check Dance Team

Reality Check Dance Team at First Night. Photo by Scott Haydon

A few days after talking with Charles I stopped by the DASH Center to see these local dancers in action. I poked my head in at the beginning of a KRUNK rehearsal to find a dozen or so kids warming up. Even as they started to stretch, trying out new moves in the mirror, and laughing and talking amongst themselves, it’s easy to detect the motivation, drive, and confidence that Simmons spoke about in each individual… and they were just warming up.

After seeing them in action, it’s no surprise to learn that over the years, every DASH student that has auditioned for Tacoma School of the Arts has been accepted. It’s an impressive statistic considering the DASH Center was created to help kids who were supposed “troublemakers.” Simmons noted, “Now it seems like all the kids are good kids.”

With daily rehearsals filling up their schedules, I don’t know when they’d have time to get into trouble anyway. And, why bother when you can do something you love?

The Reality Check Dance Team warms up for practice at the DASH Center

The Reality Check Dance Team warms up for practice at the DASH Center

Talking with Simmons about the DASH Center and seeing a glimpse of the kids he works with brought a famous Howard Thurman quote to mind: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

The DASH Center has become the answer to that question for everyone involved, from administration to instructors to the kids, and you if you are lucky enough to find yourself in their audience.

KRUNK 8: STR8 Beastin It! promises to be “quick, detailed, and heavy with emotion”, and impossible to miss. Take this opportunity to see these exceptional Tacoma kids unleash their inner beasts at the Theater on the Square Saturday.

Find videos and links to the more than 15 dance crews featured at KRUNK 8 at the Campus MLK website.

Saturday February 16, 7pm
Theatre on the Square
915 Broadway, Tacoma
Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 day of, and you can buy them at the DASH Center website.

Reality Check Dance Team at First Night. Photo by Scott Haydon

Reality Check Dance Team at First Night. Photo by Scott Haydon

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