Com­mit­ment pays off for lo­cal dancer

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

For most of his life Daniel La’aiva has been danc­ing his way closer to the world stage and now it’s his for the tak­ing.

The Toko­roa 18-year-old hiphop dancer, who be­came in­ter­ested in hip-hop as a child while watch­ing his fa­ther and un­cles dance at home, re­cently qual­i­fied for the Hip Hop In­ter­na­tional 2017 com­pe­ti­tion be­ing held in Phoenix, Ari­zona from Au­gust 7-12.

It comes af­ter he placed third with the Iden­tity Dance Com­pany’s Yung ID crew dur­ing the re­cent Street Dance New Zealand Na­tion­als.

‘‘It is amaz­ing. I have been try­ing for about five year now go­ing to dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies try­ing to get my name out there so I am pretty happy,’’ he said.

De­spite ooz­ing nat­u­ral tal­ent get­ting to where he is hasn’t been easy with hours of train­ing put in ev­ery day.

‘‘Over the last three months I have been board­ing in Auck­land with my cousins, trav­el­ling from Manukau to Mount Eden, so I can train for six hours,’’ he said.

But back in Toko­roa for a week’s break be­fore the in­tense train­ing re­sumes for the in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion he said he couldn’t be hap­pier with how things are turn­ing out

‘‘It is a lot eas­ier be­ing up there. Ev­ery­one knows each other, all the com­pa­nies know each other, be­cause they all go to each other’s work­shops so it’s re­ally cool be­ing up there and learn­ing from the best,’’ he said.

‘‘You have to train hard’’ Daniel La'aiva

Daniel said the big­gest thing he’s learnt is to be him­self.

‘‘With some com­pa­nies they kind of try to change the way you dance but with Iden­tity and my crew they have learnt to ac­cept who I am. They just try to im­prove you as a per­son and as you per­form as a team and as a fam­ily,’’ he said.

‘‘They are very ac­cept­ing and that is the cool thing about the chore­og­ra­phers, they’re re­ally down to earth.’’

Daniel said he’s feel­ing pos­i­tive about his crew’s chances on the world stage.

‘‘We will get a plac­ing as long as we com­mit and put in the hard work,’’ he said.

‘‘You have to train hard, com­mit ev­ery time and don’t muck around.’’

‘‘If I am in fit­ness I am go­ing 100 per cent. If I am in classes I am go­ing 100 per cent. Even in the late night train­ings there is this men­tal­ity of just push­ing and that is the way you achieve,’’ he said.

A givealit­tle page has been set up to help Daniel fundraise.

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Toko­roa’s Daniel La’aiva has qual­i­fied for the Hip Hop In­ter­na­tional 2017 com­pe­ti­tion be­ing held in Phoenix, Ari­zona.

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