Hip hop­ping kids to take on world

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Carly Tawhiao

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

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

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.

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