Nevertheless, there I was last night at the New Zealand Hip-Hop Champs amongst a mass of screaming youngsters, hootin’ and hollerin’ with the rest of ‘em. I was with a group of keen Waiheke supporters there to cheer on our wonderful Hip-Operation Crew as they competed in the mega-crew section of the competition. In the past they’ve been invited to hip-hop competitions as a ‘guest’ act but this time they were there for the real deal competing against some of the best in the world.
It was the turn of the juniors (13 and under) and mega crews to strut their stuff on the third day of competition at the Victory Centre on Beaumont St. It’s the old Assembly of God building with an interior like a massive wooden boom box making it an ideal venue these champs.
They came from all over New Zealand to show just what dedication it takes to be one of the best in the country and therefore the world. Some of them have been dancing since they were two years old and devote all their ‘spare’ time to training. They obviously live for dance in just the same way as budding ballet stars. And who do they look up to as their heroes? None other than our very own Hip-Operation Crew who fulfill their mission of bridging the divide between young and old.
And didn’t they do well. Their new routine contains some pretty advanced moves like moon walking and ‘dead ants’. They’re also maturing into the genre with more aggressive street-savvy struts and facial expressions as well as spiked rainbow coloured hair. Their hard training almost paid off as they just failed to make the cut for tomorrow's final but were rewarded with the only standing ovation of the night from a hysterically appreciative crowd.
When they were interviewed on stage after their performance they proudly announced they were from Waiheke Island and they’d been dancing for nearly two years. But the quote of the night had to go to our very own 95 year old hip-hopper Maynie Thompson. When asked if she thought two years ago that she’d be performing on stage with some of our youngest dancers she replied, “No, I thought I’d be dead.” It brought the house down.