World champs a big challenge for dancers
A young dance group will be testing its talents on a global stage in the world hip-hop championships.
Northland Hip Hop Dance's junior group Future Crew has qualified for the competition in Los Angeles in August.
The nine dancers aged 9 to 13 are getting ready for the trip of a lifetime by frantically fundraising and practising.
Most of the dancers were part of Future Crew last year when it won the cadet division of the world champs in Australia.
But coach Annalise Woods says that competition, run by the Federation of International Sports, Aerobics and Fitness, is much smaller and has different rules to the Los Angeles competition.
The Los Angeles competition is run by Hip Hop International and receives international television coverage through MTV.
"It's a life experience for these kids who may not get the opportunity to go again. It's a big commitment from parents who have less than three months to fundraise," Annalise says.
"Future Crew have come a long way in a year from being a new crew and then being able to represent New Zealand."
The group came third in the New Zealand qualifying event and the top three teams go on to the world champs.
Head coach Hayden Woods says the young dancers will have to work hard to sharpen their technique and polish their routines.
But that won't be a hardship – all of them say they love to dance and think being in the crew is fun.
Reon Lewis, 12, says he joined Future Crew at the beginning of last year because "I'm passionate about dancing".
Nine-year-old brother Darian also followed in his brother's footsteps and says it's "cool" dancing with a group of mainly girls.
Anaya Wakelin, 9, says "it's awesome" going to the world championships.
Her mother Sherie Apetera admits it is a big commitment for parents with all the rehearsals and fundraising activity.
But she says Anaya aspired to be part of Future Crew.
"She watched these guys right through last year and she just admired them. So she went out and auditioned and she made it."
Fundraising includes selling chocolates, cooking hangi food and garage sales.
Anyone with donations or sponsorship can contact Annalise Woods on 4596909 for more information.