NZ crews dominate World Hip-Hop dance champs

By Hugh Sundae

The Royal Family took the gold medal in the inaugural MegaCrew category. Photo / Kendal Collins
The Royal Family took the gold medal in the inaugural MegaCrew category. Photo / Kendal Collins

New Zealand has won two silver and three gold medals at the World Hip-Hop Dance Championship in Las Vegas.

The haul confirms New Zealand as a major force in hip-hop dance, and effectively makes Penrose's Palace Dance Studios the most successful hip-hop dance studios in the world.

"It's just an amazing journey for New Zealand as a country," says Palace Dance Studios manager Brett Goebel.

"Everyone I spoke to was just in awe that a country our size could dominate. It will never be done again."

The gold medals were won by Bubblegum (Junior), Sorority (Varsity) and The Royal Family, in the newly established Megacrew division - for crews of 14 people and over.

ReQuest, last year's World Champions, took silver in the main adult division, with the UK's Plague crew taking gold. A silver also went to Lil Saintz who came behind Bubblegum in the junior division.

"With Bubblegum winning gold and Sorority winning gold then the ReQuest girls are happy, they're following in their footpath. They're tomorrow's ReQuest," says Goebel.

Four of the dance crews are from the Palace Dance Studios, and are choreographed by Brett's daughter, Parris. But despite ReQuest being last year's World Champions, defending their crown wasn't guaranteed.

An appearance on America's Best Dance Crew - the US dance equivalent of American Idol and a major achievement in its own right - emptied their funds and the $36,000 cost of returning to Las Vegas to defend their title was looking unlikely.

That was until TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre CEO Richard Jeffery read a story on nzherald.co.nz, and picked up the phone.

"It would be a crying shame if they weren't able to show the world what they can do," says Jeffery, who provided airfares enabling the crews to attend.

"ReQuest reflects the vast talent pool that we have within the youth of our nation."

The dancers now head to Los Angeles for the Monsters of Hip Hop, a convention that attracts the best choreographers around to run a series of classes and performances.

"We always take the dancers there to up-skill, Parris is one of the faculty as well, and it ends this weekend with a big show which ReQuest will perform at," says Brett Goebel, who's looking forward to early next week when 29 dancers will step off the plane wearing gold medals.

"When you have the anthem being sung three times out of four, and the flag raises, never a prouder moment brother, never."

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