16 September 2019

Canberra crews dance up a storm at national titles

| Michael Weaver
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Play Dance Academy

Winner of the Young Guns division at the Australian Dance Crew Championships was the PLAY YG crew from the Play the Dance Agency at Mitchell. Photos: Images Instantly.

Canberra dance crews have upstaged their rivals from around Australia at the Australian Dance Crew Championships, held at the AIS Arena on September 7.

Canberra dance schools had 20 crews and six soloists at the Championships, which attracted 340 dancers for the 13th year of the national titles.

Event Coordinator for the Australian Dance Crew Championships Carly Paine, who also runs the Passion & Purpose dance studio in Canberra, said the event was a massive spectacle for everyone involved.

“It was the second time we’ve hosted the event in Canberra and I think it was really important to bring the event here, especially considering how well Canberra groups are going at the moment,” Carly told Region Media.

Canberra dancers placed consistently in the top three across numerous divisions.

The PLAY YG crew from Play Dance Agency at Mitchell took first place in the Young Guns division for 12-15 year-olds, closely followed by the Creed crew from Dance Central at Woden taking 2nd place.

In the open division, Project One crew from the Project Beats school in Civic took the top prize, while the Fusion crew from Fresh Funk in Tuggeranong finished 3rd.

The Fresh Funk dancers went one place better in the Monster division where crews of 15 or more dancers take to the stage. The Fresh Funk Fam crew placed 2nd, ahead of the Elite Mega crew from the Elite Dance Studio at Mitchell.

The national titles also showcased many junior divisions where local dancers were again prominent.

Makenna Ravouvou, from the Passion & Purpose Academy, placed 3rd in the Young division for solo dancers 12 and under.

In the Kids division for dancers 10 and under, Play Kids at Mitchell finished 3rd.

In the Junior division for 12 and under dancers, the crew from Play Junior at Mitchell took 2nd place, ahead of the DKC from Dance Central at Woden.

Third place in the Junior Soloist division was Makenna Ravouvou from Passion & Purpose Academy in Canberra.

The national titles offered $25,000 in cash prizes to 41 dance crews and 16 soloists. Competitors qualified for the event after four preliminary rounds earlier this year.

“This was the biggest nationals we’ve had so far,” Carly said. “In recent years, dance crews have evolved and there has been major growth in the industry where dance crews have really taken on their own identity.

“Now with so many dance style influences, dance crews are open to incorporate limitless styles which celebrate this diversity in style and entertainment,” Carly said.

“We’re looking to continue to have it in Canberra more regularly, especially since the AIS is such a great venue to hold the event. We were really excited to host it as it’s such a big event and we’ll be looking to get more support from the community in future.”

More than 550 people attended the national titles, which drew much support from local sponsors and volunteers, including Craig Dear from Sidestage Productions, who handled all the staging and effects for the event.

Four judges scored each of the dancers on choreography, technical and presentation aspects, with routines going for two minutes for the soloists, and three to four minutes for the dance crews.

Carly said the dancers work year-round to work on their routines.

“Some of the dance schools have international choreographers come in to help with the routines, so it’s pretty amazing to see all the hard work they put in and why they do so well.

“We also decided this year that we wouldn’t make any profits from the event, so we were able to give all the prize money back to the dancers as so much time and effort and expenses go into getting the routines as good as they are.”

Carly said organisers will be looking for more support to stage the event in Canberra again.

“We are looking at going international with the event next year and involving crews from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, which is really exciting. We want to branch out to countries that wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to be involved in events like this, so that’s really important to us. I’m sure there are some great dancers in those places too.”

Winners of the Open division was the Project One crew from the Project Beats school in Civic.

The Fresh Funk Fam crew from Tuggeranong placed second in Australia in the Monster crew division.

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