In November last year, we decided to take our crew, TRNSCND to compete at the UK Street Dance Championships in Harrow, London. As we only started our training in September, we didn’t enter a group piece, but instead gave our young dancers the opportunity to compete as soloists and duos. For many of our dancers, this was the first time they had ever competed.
Leading up to the competition, our dancers worked together in partners to choreograph their own duos, using a range of foundations and choreographic techniques, to the set music provided by the organisers of the competition. We also worked a lot on their individual freestyles, introducing a variety of music, concepts and restrictions to help them create new ways of moving.
As we entered the venue on the day of the competition at 9am, we saw the stage. 1 word….MAHOOSIVE!!! The venue was big and packed with audience members and dancers. Our dancers went to collect their numbers and waited for their categories to be called. They were all really nervous, but as we kept reassuring them, it’s not about whether or not they win, it’s about you having fun and gaining some experience.
It was a long day, but the categories were fairly quick so kept the children on their toes and entertained and inspired by the other dancers. At the end of each heat, those who made it through to the next round were typed (by number not name) on a sheet of paper which was put on the wall nearby. The rush of dancers when those sheets went up after every heat was crazy! Us adults stayed well back! It definitely got them excited to see who made it through to the next round (and helped train their brains as they needed to remember their number or keep looking down at their t-shirt to read it!)
Not all our dancers made it through to their next stages unfortunately, but we were super proud of them for getting up there and being vulnerable in front of so many people and amazing dancers. And to be fair, we think all of them actually held their own and could take away so many positives from the experience. Those who didn’t make it through supported everyone else for the duration of the competition and were happy for others for getting so far. That is one thing we encourage at Elevate Arts, to support each other and clap when others are winning as we are one big family. The children definitely demonstrated this bond at the competition.
We did have 2 soloists make it through to the finals, LJ for U14s Breaking and Kiah for U14s Locking. That was an amazing achievement as this was their first National competition and they were both just 9 and 10 years old! The finals arrived and LJ came away with a silver medal and Kiah came away with a bronze medal. Everyone was so happy and proud of what they had individually achieved.
So what now? Well we are working towards our group piece, duos and solos for our next competition in May, reflecting and taking from our experiences at this competition and trying to come stronger for the next!