World champion dance crew out of cash to defend title

By Hayden Donnell

ReQuest Dance Crew. Photo / Lawrence Gullery
ReQuest Dance Crew. Photo / Lawrence Gullery

Millions of people have seen hip hop dance crew ReQuest hailed as future stars since they won a world title last year.

But to raise enough money to defend their crown, the all-female eight member group may have to start putting on car washes around Auckland.

Manager Brett Goebel, whose daughter Parris captains and choreographs the crew, said the group's funds had been sapped by an appearance on America's Best Dance Crew - the dance equivalent of American Idol - earlier this year.

Though they were praised by the judges, the cost of competing on the prime time show has them scrambling to make the $36,000 needed to defend their title at the World Hip Hop Dance Championships in Las Vegas from July 26-31.

The group gets no Government funding and has to raise all its money from touring and corporate shows, Mr Goebel said.

"If you drive past us and there's a ReQuest car wash on, please drive in. We're the world champs but those funding agencies don't give any money out.

"We definitely have to be there. We've got the opportunity to create history."

ReQuest got their first success in international hip hop dancing competition when they beat 42 teams from 32 countries to win the under-19 division World Hip Hop Dance Championships in 2009.

Mr Goebel said the group have become stars in Australia and the US since following that up with their adult division win in 2010 and making it to week four of America's Best Dance Crew.

However, that hasn't translated into funding or wide renown in their home country, he said.

"We're in a place where we're semi-respected in our own country but we're huge in the States.

"The general public are pretty good, but it's probably just a lack of knowledge of the size of the competition. It's probably the same for the New Zealand men's softball team - they go and win a world title but not many people really know who they are."

ReQuest are heading home for a series of shows after completing their current tour of Australia.

Getting good crowds at those shows would help the crew's title defence fundraising efforts, Mr Goebel said.

"That's the best way to help us. That's the best thing that could be happening."

To inquire about ReQuest shows or to book the group for a corporate function, go to their website.

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