Three local dancers originating from the Groovit hip hop dance studio have had the opportunity of a lifetime, competing at the World Hip Hop Dance Championships in Phoenix, Arizona.
Local dancers Represent NZ
Ben Lowe, Amber-Lee Kelliher and Mia Sargent were chosen to represent New Zealand in their various crews at the World Championships last month. The three teens competed against crews from 50 different countries.
16 year old Ben was part of Swagganauts, an all-boy varsity crew for Identity Dance Company (IDCO), while 14 year old Amber-Lee and Ben were also part of Yung ID a junior megacrew for IDCO. 12 year old Mia was part of junior crew Bubblegum, which is part of The Palace Dance Studio.
Swagganauts achieved fifth in the Varsity category, while Bubblegum came in fourth in the Junior class, and Yung ID also took out fourth in the Megacrew category.
“We are so proud of them,” co-owner of Groovit, Rochelle Browne said.
It’s a feeling reflected by parents, students and supporters of the studio.
While they were in different crews, the important thing was where they were from. “The New Zealand crews really supported each other,” Mia said.
Amber-Lee agrees, “Seeing our flag on stage was an awesome feeling, we were very proud to be there representing our country.” For the teens, dancing on stage was a dream realised.
“It was our goal to go to Worlds. It was an awesome and united environment, and the talent was insane,” Amber-Lee said. “It was great to watch them and think ‘yeah, we could do that one day’.”
It was intense not only in the lead up to the competition, with rehearsals nearly every day, but also at the competition. “We trained until five one morning working on a whole new routine,” Mia said. “Some crews had acrobats and their routines were very cheerleading based, but we got a great crowd reaction,” Ben said. “It was cool to see what the other crews brought to the competitions.”
“The judges changed all the time, so what one liked, another one wouldn’t. They kept changing it up, which made it tough,” he said. They say the time just flew by when they were performing on stage. “I just remember walking on and off,” adds Amber-Lee. While there were a few butterflies, the nerves were mostly kept at bay by the hype from the cheering audience and the crews themselves as they prepared to go on stage.
Worlds was an experience this group of dancers will never forget, and will hopefully get to relive again next year.