A schoolgirl saunters across the stage while a group of hooded dancers attempts to woo her. Dressed in black sweat suits with the words “Total Kaos” ironed in red on their backs, USF’s Total Kaos Dance Troupe set the stage for its performance at the Homecoming Carnival on Tuesday.
What followed was a merry-go-round of performances: the hooded dancers performed a routine and were then replaced by a group of schoolgirls – and back and forth they danced. The music switched from fast hip-hop to slow R&B as fluidly as the dancers moved.
Since the organization’s founding in 2002, Total Kaos has performed in countless talent shows and showcases on campus. The troupe specializes in variety, with hip-hop dancing, modern, technique, techno, street dancing, reggae and some all-around booty shaking.
Kayondra Patrice Law, the troupe’s captain, described the dancers as highly motivated. “We’re different – we stand out,” she said. “Everybody knows who we are.”
Law, a senior majoring in criminology and psychology, joined the troupe in Spring 2003 and was elected captain the following semester, a role she has kept since then. Law’s responsibilities include supervising the troupe’s practices, scheduling performances and planning events. The troupe’s executive board assists her with the administration of the troupe.
Law briefly explained the way Total Kaos dancers set themselves apart from other dance groups on campus: “We’re creative,” she said.
At the Homecoming Carnival, the performances were interwoven with several skits, as well as props like confetti and chairs.
Colleen Crowder, a junior dance major, said the troupe’s purpose is to entertain the student body and to keep up their spirit. She joined the troupe this semester and said she loves the feeling she gets from dancing.
“I like being able to entertain people through movement and music,” Crowder said.
The troupe’s mission statement, according to the Center for Student Involvement’s Web site, is “to be the change we wish to see in the world by letting our voice be heard through the wonderful art of dance.”
Total Kaos holds auditions once a semester to maintain membership. Members choreograph a routine and teach it to the candidates, who then perform it in front of the troupe members. Candidates also have to perform their own choreographed dance routines.
Law said the auditioning process isn’t difficult.
“It’s just something you have,” she said. “Most people who come have danced before in other groups, like in high school.”
After the first cut, the remaining candidates go through a process called “Pre-K,” which is comprised of more rigorous dancing. There are about 22 dancers in the troupe, all women. The troupe used to be co-ed, but became all-female this semester because of many factors, including the graduation of male members and members’involvement with other organizations.
“They’re creative, motivated, crunk, always excited,” Law said about the troupe’s members. “And they’re always ready to dance.”
Law said one of the biggest challenges is gathering everyone’s input for a show.
“During practices everyone has so many ideas … we always have a headache,” she said. “Once we get it together, it becomes great.”
Besides performing on campus, Total Kaos has also toured the state, performing at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and at the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade in Sarasota.
Crowder said Total Kaos always puts on a good show.
“If you want quality and you want perfection, that’s what you’re going to get.”