Queenstown plays host to country's top school crews

It was the ultimate battle of pop and lock, and high kicks, as hundreds of dancers took centre stage at the New Zealand Schools Hip-Hop, Sport Aerobics and Fitness Championships in Queenstown.

It is the first time the resort has hosted the competition, and ticket sales had organisers dancing for joy.

On Friday night, the national hip-hop competition drew 500 cheering fans, followed by a two-day national aerobics competition on Saturday and yesterday when 300 people were in the audience.

Hip-hop group Diamond, of Rasa School of Dance in Dunedin, battle it out in the mega crew category. Photos: Miranda Cook
Hip-hop group Diamond, of Rasa School of Dance in Dunedin, battle it out in the mega crew category. Photos: Miranda Cook

In the hip-hop division, there were 52 dance crews from schools and dance companies around the country. The competition is primarily aimed at school pupils, but private dance studios competed in their own category, as did adult performers.

Competition judge Gemma Lowther said the young dancers were passionate about performing, and it taught them discipline, strength and to keep active, but most of all offered the chance to have fun.

Hip-hop crew In-Denial, from Otago Girls’ High School, practise their poses outside the Queenstown Events Centre before their performance.
Hip-hop crew In-Denial, from Otago Girls’ High School, practise their poses outside the Queenstown Events Centre before their performance.
''We have had low-decile schools get in touch with us to say it's what keeps some of our kids coming to school, it's what they live for, it's their whanau, it's a sense of community,''' Lowther said.

Auckland's Alfriston College won the ''mega crew'' division.

''Groovy Girls'' crew from Christchurch's Halswell School were crowned winners of ''mini crew'' for the primary and intermediate schools round, while ''Xzile'', from Alfriston, won the ''mini crew'' section for secondary schools.

''Flawless', from Te Waka, in Christchurch, won the ''small crew'' section for primary and intermediate schools, and ''Sisterhood'', from Auckland's Long Bay College, was crowned the winner of the ''small crew'' category for secondary schools.

Hundreds of young athletes proved to be light on their feet as they powered through pirouettes and push-ups in the aerobics category.

Lowther said sport aerobics was judged on three categories: technical, artistic and how fit the athlete was.

''Synergy'', from Wellington's Roroa Normal Intermediate School, ''Fabulous Five'', from Lets Dance Studio, and ''Cha Cha Chicks'', from St Hilda's Collegiate School and Columba College, all won categories in the aerobics competition.

Lowther said everyone loved Queenstown as the host town.

''We try to alternate between the North Island and the South Island, and we haven't been to Queenstown before, so we thought it would be a good way to show what the region has to offer.''

miranda.cook@odt.co.nz

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