Five Cambridge dancers took to the stage at the Project Youth Hip Hop Dance competition held in Tauranga on June 2, coming away with a fantastic third-place result.
The Ignite Dance Academy’s junior dance crew, Kaha, made up of Jess Wild, Imani Maher, Summer de Gouviea-Rennie, Katie Burnett and Lucy Kingston, spent three weeks of intensive training preparing for the competition with the help of their instructor and choreographer Lawrence Harris, often training ten to twelve hours a week. So it was certainly worthwhile when the middle school-aged dancers finished in the top three of the intermediate category.
“We all felt afterwards, even if we didn’t place, we knew that we’d done well because we all tried our hardest,” said Imani. “And then we placed, and we were even more happy!”
The girls were in squeals of excitement as they raced their way from the upper balcony onto the stage to collect their prize. “I had butterflies,” said Katie.
“I was so proud of them, hugely proud,” said Maxine Nelson of Ignite Dance Academy. “I’ve watched them go from little girls to very focused and very disciplined, not that they weren’t, but their sharp edge really came into focus big time within a few short weeks, so I’m very, very impressed… they really rose to the challenge and did amazing.
“They were up against some stiff competition so it’s a big achievement for a very young crew.”
Summer described their performance as “nerve-wracking at the start, but when we started dancing we were fine.”
“It was fun and exciting,” Imani added.
The crew will be holding auditions in a few weeks’ time to add a couple more members to the team, and look forward to taking part in the Hip Hop International regional competition, aiming to make it through to the national round.