DESPITE the Covid pandemic and travel ban challenges, a group of South African hip hop dancers have made to the world championships in France.
Under the leadership of their coach Corinne de Beer from Diversify Dance, the team took sixth place at the 2021 Hip Hop Unite World Championships last month.
De Beer said all their hard work had paid off. From the moment the dancers put their feet on the ground they had to remain focused because they wanted to make their country proud.
“The crews that took the top spot in the South African Hip Hop Unite dance championships received their Protea colours and went on to compete at the Hip Hop Unite world championships.
De Beer said before they left she met with the dancers’ parents and they discussed the risks associated with Covid. “We had challenge after challenge stacked against us both before France and in France.
“We had to have compulsory Covid tests when we got there, the chance of someone not feeling well, a lockdown in France or the event being cancelled. But we decided to take the risk, stick together and do what we could to take the opportunity of representing the country. It was the best decision we made,” said De Beer.
She recalled moments of the competition and described it as being extremely tough.
“When we got to France it was rather chilly. There were hundreds of dancers at the venue, all of which had to have Covid tests before entering the building.
“That was nerve-racking but we pushed through. This was the first time these specific teams of mine had been on a world stage, so they were nervous but ready.
“The crowd was cheering for them. We had the best South African support there, their parents. The vibe was amazing and it was so good for the dancers to be able to perform at a live event on such a large scale with hundreds of people in the audience.
“The countries that competed from all over the world had to bring their A-game.
“As their dance coach, I trained the dancers to do the best of their abilities and just expected them to give of their very best on stage. Anything could happen.”
De Beer explained that there were three rounds, preliminary, semi-finals and finals, with teams eliminated in the first two rounds.
“Our teams made it through to the top 10 placings in the world, with one of my teams achieving a podium position. It was a great success and the hard work paid off for the dancers.”
The Swagsters comprised Alyssa de Jager, Hannah Bright, Gabriella Zauber, Rachel Waldron, Rebecca Cross, Lily Aufrichtig and Courtney Thomas. Sublime consisted of Simon Hepburn, Crystal Foster, Chantal McClure, Tania Herman and Terri le Roux, and the junior duo Madison Taleberg and Chloe Thomas showed off their skills and managed to bag sixth spot in the world champs.
De Beer said the dancers had all learnt life lessons and made memories.
“The experience they had was unforgettable and they were outstanding. They can be so proud of themselves for what they have achieved.
“Besides knowing that there is a global pandemic, we now also know that we can all come together and unite to make dreams come true.
“There was a lot of negative news but we were able to make South Africa proud.”