Hip hop happening this Queen’s Birthday Weekend

Successful Bay of Plenty varsity dance crew De Visu will be performing at the Project Youth Hip Hop Competition at the ASB Arena at Baypark on Sunday, June 3.

A dance style that has catapulted many New Zealand dancers, including Parris Goebel, to international success is coming to Tauranga on the Queen’s Birthday weekend.

The Project Youth Hip Hop Dance Competition, now in its ninth year, will see 82 crews made up of about 900 dancers take to the stage at the ASB Arena at Baypark.

Among them will be a crew of nine children from Te Kura o Te Moutere o Matakana – Diversity – who have been working with Urban Dance Youth Trust creative director and Project Youth event director Sarah Martin to perform a set for the first time in the entry level competition.

“We’ve been going out on the barge each week to Matakana Island and they’ve come in to the studio a few times to get in front of the mirrors,” says Sarah.

“It’s been awesome. The community has really rallied behind them with fundraisers for their uniforms and associated costs. I’m really looking forward to seeing them on stage.”

Sarah says when she first moved to Tauranga in 2009, local dancers were reluctant to enter some of the national hip hop competitions.

“I started Project Youth as an entry-level competition so local crews could gain some understanding and experience of the competition scene before heading off to the big ones.

“It just grew from there, with people in more experienced crews wanting another competition to be involved in. We’ve evolved to a two-day event, where the first day is still very much entry level, beginner, schools competition and the second day is open competition with prize money.”

The event is open to the public each day, and from 5-9pm on Saturday, June 2, there will be free dance workshops with the event judges including dancer and choreographer Kiel Tutin, fresh from choreographing for Jennifer Lopez at this week’s Billboard Music Awards, as well as fellow dancer/choreographers Josh Cesan, Loren Sila, Chris Ofanoa and Christa Albert.

“I think education is really important, so the more exposure kids can get to these sort of people and be able to upskill and develop, the better our scene is going to be,” says Sarah.

The Project Youth Hip Hop Dance Competition will be held at ASB Arena at Baypark from June 2-3. The schools divisions will be held from 1-4pm on Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3 will see open junior and mega crews from 1-4pm and open varsity, adult and 24 crews from 7.30-11pm.

Tickets are available from: www.eventfinda.co.nz