After cleaning up at two regional competitions, Whanganui City College's hip-hop dance crew now has its sights set on nationals.
The eight-strong, all-female crew, Aotea Empire, will compete in Christchurch at the New Zealand Schools' Hip-Hop Competition on September 22, followed by the Dance NZ Made in Palmerston North on September 23.
Dance tutor Pauline Hiroti said this was the second year the group had been dancing together - and the second time they'll compete at these two nationals.
"Last year they came third at the New Zealand Schools Hip-Hop Competition, and didn't place at the Dance NZ Made competition. So we're aiming to better that this year."
The students are training five times a week, and Ms Hiroti said they were extremely dedicated.
Their two-minute hip-hop routine - which they will use for both competitions, was jointly choreographed by the students and Ms Hiroti.
She said Aotea Empire had done extremely well, considering no hip-hop dance classes were available in Whanganui.
"For that reason, I think what they've achieved so far has been incredible. They're improving all the time."
The students range from Year 9 to Year 12, meaning the older dancers will be able to mentor new ones as they join the crew in years to come.
Whanganui City College deputy principal Val Rooderkerk said although the school didn't offer dance as a formal subject, the students were able to gain dance credits for their involvement in Aotea Empire.
"And because they've been doing so well, they'll get very good credits," Ms Rooderkerk said.
She said several of the crew were interested in studying dance at a tertiary level after they leave school.