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Tauranga’s Space Studios dancers head to World of Dance, Hip Hop International competitions

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Space Astra placed first at the national championships.

Tauranga dancers from Space Studios are heading to the World of Dance Competition.

One of the studio directors, Cameron Smith. says Space Studios returned to the big nationals over the school holidays, and was up against “all the top studios in New Zealand, including Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, and everywhere.”

“Little ol’ Tauranga took out the national title, which is pretty cool. From Tauranga, that’s pretty unheard of. Auckland studios are usually the ones that absorb the podium. But for a studio in Tauranga to take that out is pretty big news.

“They’ve qualified not only winning nationals, but they were the highest score against everything, and they’ve qualified for the world champs in LA.

“The Tauranga dance studio has defied the odds, winning four national dance titles over the course of 14 days.”

Cameron says Space Studios will represent Aotearoa New Zealand at two of the most prestigious dance competitions in the world.

Hip Hop International is known as the Olympics of Dance, where dancers from more than 50 countries around the world will compete for the bronze, silver, and gold in a “knockout” style competition across the week.

“Space Studios is no stranger to this, bringing home the bronze last year in 2023.

Space Proteam placed first at the national champs.
Space Proteam placed first at the national champs.

“With a new lease of energy and dreams set high, the dancers and choreographers [Cameron Smith and Summer Tyson] will be training at their highest level to date to represent New Zealand proudly in Arizona, USA, in August.

“Space at the same time will be competing in World of Dance, an all-genre dance competition,” Cameron says.

He says Space Studios has taken the first step by successfully earning the four national titles in its respective competitions to qualify for the world championships.

“In August, 32 dancers from the little Bay of Plenty will be taking on the world in America with the rest of Team New Zealand.

Space Studios Hip Hop International New Zealand Championships  team Space Proteam.
Space Studios Hip Hop International New Zealand Championships team Space Proteam.

“It is a massive pat on the back for the dancers and their hard work.

“Achieving this is no easy feat, and a lot of day-to-day sacrifices were made to make dreams a reality.”

The team averaged about nine and a half hours practising every day, says Cameron.

“I think the reaction when they win it’s just a pat on the back. We always say hard work pays off.

“It’s a reward for the dancers to say shivers all that hard work, all the sacrifices they have made to be in the studio every day.

“They didn’t have a school holiday, they sacrificed their friendships, maybe that birthday party for mum or dad, they sacrifice all of these things and it’s all paid off.”

Cameron says he doesn’t know how the kids balance school on top of this busy dance schedule.

“I think the craziest thing is that these kids are at school from nine to three, they get picked up from school, and they head straight to the studio, and they are there till sometimes 10 at night. And then to be up the following day to go back to school, it’s super dedicated.

“They are the most dedicated kids I know.”

Cameron says the parents are incredibly dedicated as well.

“It’s as rewarding for the parents as it is for the kids because they are there as much and give a lot to the process to help support their kids and make their dreams come true.”

Space Studios Hip Hop International New Zealand champions Outkasts.
Space Studios Hip Hop International New Zealand champions Outkasts.

Not all of the dancers want to become professional dancers in the future. “For many of them, this is passion; maybe they’ve been dancing for a little while, and now they can dance to that next level.

“We have dancers that want to dance professionally, so we’re an excellent platform for dancers that want to pursue this professionally.

“We’re an excellent platform for those dances to invest in their craft and be the best.

There are 32 dancers across four separate teams, says Cameron.

“Our Space Proteam is massively known on social media; they’ve got about 28 million views across their videos.

“Then returning to worlds is Outkasts [a team of eight], who picked up third at worlds last year.

“So now we’re returning this year with the hopes of aiming a bit higher.

“Our youngest dancer is 11 years old, and our oldest is 19, so they’re pretty young to get these fantastic opportunities. For an 11-year-old to have the chance to travel overseas and compete with the best, it’s pretty mental.

“It’s normal for Auckland studios; Tauranga has never had world qualifications in dance.

“World of Dance has been around for a long time and it’s super exciting to be able to perform in front of a live audience.”

World of Dance is held at the Los Angeles Convention Centre.

Cameron says people worldwide attend the World of Dance Competition, from the Dominican Republic to Spain “and everywhere else under the sun”.

“For the World of Dance specifically, everybody comes together under that pure passion of dance.

“Space Studios was built around opportunity, creating opportunities for dancers who want to dream big; those with huge goals wish to make something of their talent.

“For us, it is a go-getter mentality. We push to create opportunities, put our name out there. – SunLive

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