Dionne Christian is the NZ Herald’s arts and books editor

Kiwi crew breaks out medal moves

"We're out to show we're not one- trick ponies."

And with that, three of the boys from the seven-strong New Zealand dance crew The Bradas break out the moves that last year won them first place in the adult section of the World Hip Hop Dance Championships in the United States.

The Bradas, the adult crew of Identity Dance Company, leave this weekend for Las Vegas to defend their title at the 2016 championships, expected to attract around 80 crews - about 3500 dancers - from around 50 countries. They hope to return with another gold and further chances to strut their stuff on international stages.

But this year The Bradas no longer have the "unknown factor" on their side. Having only been together for nine months when they won in 2015, they were rank outsiders.

After winning the New Zealand National Championships last April, they asked that no one post video clips online of their routines so competitors would have no knowledge of their talent or moves.

The subterfuge paid off when they pipped a more experienced Filipino team, Romancon, to win gold.

Nathan Kara, 21, Riley Bourne, 19, and Connor Mller, 20, admit this year will be tougher, but they also have more knowledge and experience about the "madness" involved at the Worlds.

"It really is the Olympics of dance," says Kara.

And they train as hard as any athletes at the Rio Olympics. Days start at 6am with rigorous workouts, they follow strict personalised meal plans and fitness regimes and spend hours in the evenings and weekends perfecting their moves.

They reckon their home country gives them an extra advantage.

"Our dancers are world class because there are so many different cultures in this country and we pick and share the best elements from all of them to create something which is unique and special," says Mller. "There's a strong spirit of open-mindedness here."

The Bradas, all aged between 18 and 23, have also secured sponsors, including Russell Athletic, so while they've had to do some fundraising it has not been as time-consuming as in previous years.

- NZ Herald

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