Hip-hop star lends ad­vice

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By RACHEL STURGES

AS­PIR­ING hip-hop dancers will get the chance to learn more moves with chart­top­ping singer and hip-hop star J. Wil­liams.

Tonight at 7pm, Mt Al­bert YMCA is of­fer­ing a one-off dance work­shop with the hiphop star, in part­ner­ship with RaiseUp, the YMCA’s youth de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme.

It came about be­cause J., who was a hip-hop teacher be­fore his record­ing suc­cess, works out at the YMCA gym and sees the work it does with young peo­ple.

The Take Me Higher singer says the YMCA’s vi­sion to build strong kids, strong fam­i­lies and strong com­mu­ni­ties is one he wants to align him­self with.

He can re­late to kids lack­ing con­fi­dence and those who come from poor backgrounds.

‘‘A lot of kids are very shy and I guess those nerves can limit their tal­ent. I hope I can be an ex­am­ple. I used to be like that but I’m here and just do­ing my thing,’’ he says.

‘‘I come from a very poor up­bring­ing, a hum­ble up­bring­ing, I know how it is.’’

Mt Al­bert YMCA youth pro­gramme man­ager Kevin Carter says it has a huge youth pro­gramme where ‘‘hun­dreds turn up’’.

‘‘We had the young peo­ple and J. had the skills so it was a bit of a match,’’ Mr Carter says.

The work­shop is or­gan­ised by the cen­tre’s RaiseUp group of 13 to 18-year-olds who also or­gan­ise dance-party events and ac­tiv­i­ties.

‘‘They’re a pretty amaz­ing group of young peo­ple.’’

Teenager Saskia An­der­son says it’s re­ward­ing be­ing in­volved in some­thing that gives back to the community.

‘‘RaiseUp is kind of like a fam­ily,’’ she says.

Fel­low RaiseUp mem­ber Mar­ion Lavea agrees.

Mr Carter says the work- shop is a pi­lot and if it proves suc­cess­ful it will be­come a reg­u­lar thing.

J. is slot­ting the hip-hop work­shop into a busy work sched­ule of a week-long tour of New Zealand and Aus­tralia.

Kids at­tend­ing the work­shop will get to learn about hip-hop dance his­tory and tech­niques, dif­fer­ent gen­res and how to teach hip-hop.

Most of all though, he wants to raise kids’ con­fi­dence lev­els, say­ing it’s im­por­tant for kids to fol­low their dreams, de­spite the bad things that can hap­pen in life.

‘‘Last year was a re­ally hard time for me. I was re­ally low. But af­ter all that bad press, I just want to show the youth that what­ever you go through, you can hit a brick wall, or get to a dead-end, never stop chas­ing your dreams. I hope to be an in­spi­ra­tion to them.’’

The hip-hop work­shop takes place 7pm to­day at Mt Al­bert YMCA, 773 New North Rd. Tick­ets $5 at the door.

Go to auck­land­c­ity har­bournews.co.nz and click Lat­est Edition to see a video of J. Wil­liams singing Take Me Higher.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Hip-hop moves: J. Wil­liams with RaiseUp crew mem­bers at Mt Al­bert YMCA.

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