Hip-hop team OutKast have qualified and been selected to represent New Zealand at the International Hip-Hop World Championship
Dreams have come true for members of a dance crew who now have months to go to prepare for the world stage.
OutKast, a nine-person hip hop team from SPACE studios in
Tauranga, qualified and was selected to represent New Zealand at the International Hip-Hop World Championships.
The World Championships are held in Arizona, USA in August.
The team trains several times a week and one member comes from Rotorua.
Due to Covid restrictions there was no live competition this year. Instead, teams from across New Zealand had to submit a video of their routine which was judged by an international jury at the end of May.
OutKast qualified in New Zealand’s top five out of 25 teams in their category and were selected to represent the country in August.
The team is made up of teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17.
More than 5,000 dancers from 44 countries will participate in the global competition.
SPACE Studios director Cameron Smith said waiting for the results to be announced on a live stream is a lot different than competing in person.
“The kids have completely lost their minds. For many of them, this has been their dream since they were nine or ten years old.
“To get out of this, all of their hard work paid off.”
He said preparation for the competition is underway.
“It takes a lot of commitment and sacrifice of things that teenagers would normally do.
“Their goal is to train every weekend before.”
Smith said there’s also a lot of fundraising going on to make the trip happen for the crew. This included a movie fundraiser, raffles, and Givealittle pages.
Rialto Movie Night (Top Gun) is June 29, with raffles and sets. Tickets are $25. Contact Jayne on [email protected] to book a ticket yourself.
The crew received tremendous support from family and friends, he said.
“It’s a group of young, hard-working teenagers who have worked hard to achieve their dreams.”
Smith said New Zealand are often represented at the World Championships, but having a local team from Tauranga was special.
Paige Elliott, 16, a crew member and student at Western Heights High School, said she started dancing in 2017 when she was around 11 and worked her way up the ranks over the years in dance studios.
Paige said finding out the team had qualified for the world championships was amazing.
“It was the most amazing feeling. All of our hard work paid off.”
She said the trip to the competition in August will be busy and there will be a lot to juggle, with training, fundraising and keeping track of school work.
Paige looked forward to the atmosphere of Worlds and said she’s heard amazing stories from people who have competed there before.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m very excited. We’ve worked hard and it will be cool to see it on the world stage.”
She thanked their choreographers Cameron Smith and Gabriel Sutton. The latter comes down from Auckland to teach them the routine.
“We are very lucky to have two amazing choreographers with a lot of wisdom and they have been really supportive of us.”
Crew member Connor Settle-Smith, 17, said it was so exciting and cool when the results were revealed.
The Bethlehem College student said Worlds preparation will be full with three to four practices a week and fundraising is going well.
He said what he loved about dancing and the team was that it was a place where he felt happy and he was with other people who loved to dance.
Ella Radovanovich, 16, a member of the team and a student at Mt Maunganui College, said she loves the feeling she gets from dancing and enjoys being around people who are as passionate as she is.
She was looking forward to leaving with the team.
Connor and Ella said competing at the World Championships was a dream come true for the whole team.
They were excited to represent New Zealand on the world stage and to see and possibly meet teams from other countries they followed online.
They said the team is grateful to everyone who has helped them along their individual dance journeys, and they thanked Cameron, Gabriel and TJ for their help and support with OutKast.
The team includes Noah Ball, Paige Elliott, Isabella Giurizatto Scott, Maia Hemana, Sienna Lagerberg, Baylee Murray, Ella Radovanovich, Poppy Richardson and Connor Settle-Smith.