The stage burns up at Drugstore Cowboy in Deep Ellum when a dancing duo who call themselves the Indigos show off their waves, locks and soulful power pops that can move any somber crowd on a typical Friday night. They make a splash when they’re on the floor, whether it’s in a bar or at an art gallery. Crowds form to gaze at the two taking turns freestyling tricks, swaying their shoulders, arms and hips and doing full back bends or clever foot slides with hands on the ground.
Xavier “Zigg-E” Sebastian Alvarado and Tomecko “Apollo” Johnson make up the core of a group that is slowly but surely becoming a hip-hop force in the city. The Indigos are more than just a dance crew, but it’s their moves that are raising brows on the floors and stages across town.
Alvarado calls it the “Indigo style.” It’s a mixed blend of hip-hop moves, B-boying and soul inspired by James Brown and Michael Jackson.
“There’s a fine line between cockiness and confidence,” he says. “And I aim more for confidence in my style.”
Johnson says his passion for dancing comes naturally; he's like the Energizer bunny.
“Everybody in this world, sometime in their life whether they’re by themselves or with somebody, they’re going to dance,” he says. “It’s going to be some song that’s going to catch them. They’re going to move their head, their feet. They’re going to do something. I’m just crazy. I just dance a lot.”
Alvarado says it’s in his DNA. His grandpa was a tap dancer, who would “dance like James Brown.” His mom helped him find the music. His uncle taught him the fundamentals of B-boying. At 8, he joined the Boys & Girls Club and found a new world of dancing.
“You had the Harlem shake, just finding the groove, just finding my rhythm,” he says. “As far as dancing, I found myself more at the Boys & Girls Club.”
Johnson says he became a dancer at age 5 when he saw Michael Jackson on TV. Growing up in a small Arkansas town outside Little Rock, he could only see the biggest stars on his screen. He’d watch the King of Pop and copy his moves. Then he began performing at his church, where it started out as something just for fun, he says. While the other kids got into trouble, Johnson found a way out through motion.
“I would come to my church and it would just be a bunch of kids who would be getting locked up and all kinds of things would be happening,” he says. “So when they would get out of jail that was the only place they were really allowed to go.”
“When they see me dance everybody would just go crazy. And that’s when I was like, 'Oh man, maybe I could do something with this in my life,'” he says. “That was when I found my path.”
When the two dancers met two years ago, their first plan was to take Deep Ellum by storm.
“Deep Ellum was beyond dead,” says Alvarado. “We would come over here. I would bring the speaker and we would just get down and create a crowd.”
The pair got acquainted through mutual friends, but it was when Alvarado watched a video of Johnson dancing in his backyard that he became interested in collaborating. He commented on the video, “Yo bro, you eatin!” and they got in touch.
Since then, they’ve been tearing up the floors and filling rooms with spontaneous performances. They’ve already performed with Erykah Badu and have collaborated with other local musicians on a few music videos soon to be released.
Next they plan to audition for America’s Got Talent in February. For the next 35 days, the pair are practicing daily for the audition. And regardless of the outcome, both say the long-term goal is to travel with the Indigo style.
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In the meantime, they work part-time jobs and teach classes at the Boys & Girls Club of Dallas, as well as Dallas Challenge, where they organize productions and inspire positivity to a new generation through dance.
“We’re really trying to create avenue for other people to see that this is what talent could be used for,” says Johnson.
This way, Alvarado says, he doesn't take his inherited skills for granted.
“We feel like God has given us this talent,” he says. “If we don’t use it, what’s the point?”