Hip hopping kids to take on world
If you think poplocking, wacking, tutting, and hyphing sound like fighting words, you wouldn’t be far from the truth.
For eight Auckland intermediate students they’re the words used to describe how they battle on the dance floor – and win.
De Ja Vu were formed through the Dziah Dance Academy only eight weeks before they won the national junior title at the 2008 New Zealand Dance Championships at the Telstra Pacific Events Centre last month.
It was the first time a junior category had been part of the annual hip hop dance competition.
Their victory qualifies the 10 to 12-year-olds entry into the World Hip Hop Dance Championships being held in Las Vegas at the end of July.
“They are training really hard right now and building strength to hold moves that older kids would normally do,” says De Ja Vu manager Natasha Kauika-Stevens, who also has the task of finding the $40,000 needed to fund the trip.
“They strive to be future role models for youth,” Natasha says. “Any assistance from the community to support our fundraising would be much appreciated.”
The young dancers come from throughout Auckland, and include Kowhai Intermediate School pupils Shakaiah Perez and Riley Bourne, both 11, and St Mary’s College student Jazz Pickett.
Shakaiah and Jazz were also chosen by international dance judges for scholarships to attend workshops in Los Angeles, which they plan to use while in the United States for the world champs.
Team co-captain Kyra Aoake, 10, says she enjoys dancing with her peers because they’re “fun and encouraging”.
But she says the training is intensive.
“We had a sleepover and danced for 11 hours straight,” she says.
Choreographer Ashleigh MacKinven is just 17 and has been with the Dziah Dance Academy for six years.
Natasha says De Ja Vu are looking forward to the experience of heading to the world champs, particularly performing in front of what will be their largest audience ever.
“The bigger and more hyped the crowd are the better,” she says.
For further details, fundraising events or sponsorships, contact Henry Perez on 027-222-9399.
– Carly Tawhiao is an AUT journalism student
The right moves for De Ja Vu: Clockwise from top, Team captain Temanea KauikaFairbrother, 12, Bridget Wigg, 11, Jazz Pickett, 11, Kyra Aoake, 10, Riley Bourne, 11, Shakaiah Perez, 11, Tania-Jade Kauika-Fairbrother, 10, and choreographer Ashleigh MacKinven.