Best of US Hip Hop dancers mentor NZ youth

By Talisa Kupenga

A hip-hop and street dance workshop, taught by some of America's most influential artists, was held in Auckland this weekend. SumIt Up Aotearoa brought together young dance enthusiasts with mentors who have created some of the world's most popular street dance styles.

Krumping, locking, freestyle and house dance is what these youth live for.

Ennaolla Paea - Big Mijo says, "I was kind of mind-blown thinking how am I going to absorb all this but the way he breaks down the ABCs and explains how to create stories through your dance it's like he almost gave us more language to move with."

“It's not just about doing the dance it's about learning the movement and learning about what it means,” says Nicole Teava (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whatua).

Jordan Phillips says, “I've been doing this for like six or seven years now and to learn the base from the creator was really cool.”

Four of America's leading street dance and hip-hop style creators, Big Mijo, Dennis D-Double Danehy, Buddha Stretch and Donald Campbell mentored youth at the workshop.

Buddha Stretch (Freestyle, House) says, “Here in New Zealand they have a rich culture that's orally transmitted that when you add hip hop to the mix it's magic.”

Donald Campbellock,’locking’ (creator, locking dance style) says, “I always tell kids now days, take my dance and make it yours that means when you can see him on the floor whatever he's doing is coming out of him.”

SumIt Up Aotearoa says it's about creating future opportunities for the youth.

Taiamai Bracken (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou) says, “It's something that a lot of our people are passionate about and so when you can take that passion and put it back into the community and have people of this kind of calibre come in and give their knowledge it just grows us.”

The youth here hope the workshops further develop their style and dance skills to create job opportunities for a career they love.