Dunedin school hip-hops straight to top

M-slaks hip-hop team member Marvelous Bamgbose (13) jumps for joy, watched by (from left) Isaac...
M-slaks hip-hop team member Marvelous Bamgbose (13) jumps for joy, watched by (from left) Isaac Fuatavai (13), co-coach Charlotte Hayward-Gillan (14), Josh Elisara (13), Codie Dunlop (13), Erin Bedford (12) and Sophie Hiku-Piho (12) after their win in the New Zealand school aerobics and dance championships. Absent: co-coach Ashlyn Monk (14). Photo by Jane Dawber.
M-Slaks members have never had any formal dance training.

Nor have they performed in a dance competition before this year.

But it hasn't stopped the Macandrew Intermediate hip-hop team, of Dunedin, from winning the 2008 New Zealand school aerobics and dance championships in Wellington at the weekend.

"I guess we must be naturals," Codie Dunlop said.

While the six-member team was delighted with the success, no-one was more surprised than they were.

Team-mate Erin Bedford was more realistic about their gold medal win in the junior hip-hop category and said the secret to their success was hard work, passion and confidence.

"You've just got to believe you're the best."

The team was coached by Otago Girls High School 14-year-olds Charlotte Hayward-Gillan and Ashlyn Monk.

Charlotte said she was proud of the team and pleased it was able to capitalise on the dancing skills the girls had shared with it during the past four months.

"We worked hard, but we never expected them to do so well on their first time around. They're amazing.

"They didn't understand how long it would take to perfect the routine. It was trying at times, trying to keep them focused, but you can't fault their enthusiasm."

Otago Girls High School also had success in the competition.

Abbey Brand (16) won a bronze medal in the senior individual open novice aerobics event, while the school's aerobics teams won a gold medal in the senior open aerobics, and bronze medals in the open team aerobics and the junior open novice team aerobics events.


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