Organized Kaos Creates Campus Dance Craze

The University of Miami’s only co-ed hip-hop dance team has been bringing well-choreographed chaos to campus for more than 15 years.

Created in 1994, Kaos has become a popular entertainment group. Most recently they performed at the ’Cane Kickoff in August.

“We provide a little bit of fun for everyone,” explains team president Julianne Byun, a sophomore psychology and public relations major who’s been dancing since age 5.

Through the years the group has remained true to its roots.

“We still do strictly hip-hop, which is one of the things that first attracted me to it,” says Alexandra “Lexi” Heller, a senior political science major who has been dancing with Kaos since freshman year. Heller, who hails from Highland Park, Illinois, began competing on an all-girl hip-hop team at age 15. “I had to work hard to keep up with the team,” she recalls. “I credit a lot of my academic and extracurricular success to the lessons I learned as a competitive dancer.”

She says hip-hop as a dance form has evolved to “a global level.”

Despite its hip-hop-centric thrust, Kaos welcomes dancers from all backgrounds, holding auditions and clinics twice a year. Members practice together four hours each week, says Heller, in addition to taking dance classes to hone their art. 

“Most of us are trained in all different kinds of styles,” explains Byun, a former UM Sunsations dancer. “We each have a different style of dancing.”

Byun, who co-choreographed a flash-mob dance event for her high school graduation in her hometown of Edison, New Jersey, prefers contemporary movement but is also well versed in jazz, ballet, and other genres. She says the team puts its flexibility and diversity to the test during its annual fall and spring dance shows at The Rock.

“This year we are adding jazzy burlesque numbers. We are pushing our boundaries of where we can go,” she vows.

Byun adds that her 12-member squad also hopes to collaborate on a football halftime extravaganza with the Band of the Hour and UM dance clubs Miami Ballroom and Salsa Craze.

“We do lots of performances,” notes Heller, a member of Zeta Tau Alpha and the President’s 100. “We work at a lot of charity events, and at the end of the year, we do our big showcase” at which Kaos members debut original choreography. 

“It’s always at the end of the semester, so the people in the library are complaining that we’re making the campus jump all night,” she admits. “We all just love what we do.”

Alysha Khan, ’14

   Click here to see Kaos in action.