18 May Hip Hop Stars Taking on Worlds
A huge congratulations to five Pakuranga College students – Liam Jennings, Bianca Poru, Peyton Haugh, Emily Cooper, and Skyler Vollenhoven – who are all off to compete in the World Hip Hop Dance Championship in Arizona at the end of July.
Our students are competing in four different dance crews and while the competition at Worlds is intense, the rivalry is friendly at home, with Liam, Bianca, Peyton, and Emily all collaborating in the college hip hop group, which Liam and Bianca also help to lead.
For Bianca, this is her third trip to Worlds, competing with megacrew Republic for the second time. Her first experience at Worlds was in the Junior division in 2019, with her group Beast placing 13th.
She says, “Having experience at Worlds is definitely an advantage, knowing the processes will really allow me to focus on my dancing. Megacrews have up to 30 dancers, so it’s very important that we’re all laser-focused on our moves and timing. Right now, the crew is rehearsing four hours a week together, but that will ramp up massively in the next month.”
For Liam, Peyton, Emily and Skyler, this is their first time at Worlds. However, Liam will have 2022 Pakuranga College alum, Tate Miller, for guidance as they dance together in Yung ID. The group placed 2nd in the Junior Varsity Megacrew division at Worlds last year and expectations for another podium placing are high.
“Currently rehearsals are 20 hours a week, it’s huge, but I can’t wait,” says Liam. The group has already had a taste of success locally, winning their category at HHI New Zealand, the competition to qualify for Worlds.
Emily and Skyler will be dancing together in the Junior division for the all-girl group, Scouts. Emily has been doing hip hop for four years and has an extensive dance background, while Skyler is clearly a natural talent, having been involved in hip hop for just a year. The girls’ Sundays from now until Worlds are taken up with dance bootcamps, on top of six hours of training during the week.
Emily says, “We’re both very excited to represent New Zealand at Worlds. Rehearsals take up a lot of time, but it’s worth it to experience dancing at this level.” Skyler adds, “We both hope to be able to come back to Worlds in future years and keep representing New Zealand.”
Meanwhile, Peyton will have a full schedule at Worlds, competing in two groups, the megacrew Saintz, who won their division at HHI New Zealand, and Lil Saintz, who are competing in the Varsity category. The lead-up is very intense too.
“I’m training 22 hours a week across both my groups. Not just choreography, but fitness and strength too. If I’m not at school, I’m training basically. It’s very full-on but I can see improvements in my dance already, and I hope it will give my crews an edge and a top result.”
Peyton is looking forward to experiencing dance culture from around the globe while she is at Worlds. As well as the competition, there are workshops for dancers to learn new moves and styles. Peyton says, “It will be great to learn from the best and bring some new moves back to the college to share with our hip hop group.”
Best of luck to all our competitors – we can’t wait to see what you do!