Stardom looks different to each of them.
Tatum Roselle, an animated 11-year-old, for example, hopes to show off his dance moves someday on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, while Tieziyana McGinnis, 11, dreams of moving to Los Angeles.
Speaking up for her peers, a grounded Cienna Reed, also 11, said she wants her hip-hop dance crew to inspire, entertain and “be the best we can be.”
Those three, along with six other preadolescent performers from across the Quad-City area, make up the racially and ethnically diverse group, ReMIXED.
A pair of volunteer dance dads, Corey Dixon and Orlando Dothard, organized the effort in 2015 to lead their children and a select team of other dedicated dancers to the next level.
While many of the students participate in numerous extracurricular activities, Dixon, 29, whose son, Corey, is on the squad, said, “This is their life.”
They rehearse every week at a makeshift studio on the top floor of a vacant building in the 300 block of 18th Street in downtown Rock Island.
Dothard leases the space and parents chip in for rent every month.
At rehearsal on Tuesday night, their music and loud stomping carried out onto the sidewalk below.
“You got to see us on our sweatiest night,” Tatum said as he wiped his brow during a break.
Prior to rehearsal in Rock Island, they attended a class at Re-Fl3x, a dance studio in Davenport, where everyone first met.
“We kind of are a family,” Tatum later said. “We’re with each other a lot.”
From parades to halftime shows, they regularly perform at a variety of community and regional events.
In March, they traveled to Chicago for Monsters of Hip-Hop, a two-day dance convention and competition, where they worked with top choreographers in the industry.
Last month, a few of the students returned to the Windy City to perform at the United Center during halftime of the first playoff game between the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics.
Dothard, whose 11-year-old daughter, Aiyana, is a member of ReMIXED, said the dancers invest long hours but never complain about the hard work.
“This is what I did and I know what it takes to get there,” he said. “It’s not all fun and games.”
People may remember Dothard, 45, from his time on Star Search, a talent competition that aired on national television back in the day. He was part of Fraternity, the six-man song-and-dance crew from the Quad-Cities that reached the semifinals of the show in the early 1990s.
Dothard, Dixon and their dancers recently starred in their first music video, “Dumb Ducky,” produced by The Video Plug, a Davenport-based company run by Kevin Phelps.
They filmed the video a few weeks ago at Jefferson Elementary School in Davenport, and it since has racked up 16,000-plus views on Facebook alone.
“They made the video what it is,” said Phelps, 27, who credited the performers for their patience during the filming process. “I can see them going really far if they stick to what they’re doing.”
At practice, Summer Lannen, whose 12-year-old son, Steven Tittle, trains and performs with the group, said the dancers’ passion drives the show.
“We do not force our kids to come here,” she said with a laugh. “They live to dance — every single one of them.”
At the end of every practice, the managers round up their students to chat about life outside the studio.
Dixon said their busy schedules keep the children focused, motivated and out of trouble.
“ReMIXED is way more than just dance,” Dothard said. “It’s about teaching these kids they can be better than what's out there.”