Manaia performing with her team Rebel Youth at the Hip Hop Championships in Holland.

Hip Hop Dancer in Demand

07.12.2017

Talented, local twelve year old dancer, Manaia Davies, has just arrived back in the country after representing New Zealand at the Hip Hop Unite World Championships held in Holland from October 19th to 21st. The international event, which included seventeen different countries and nine international world renowned judges, consisted of workshops, as well as the dance competitions.

The opportunity to dance on a world stage is a rare one, and Manaia embraced the opportunity threefold, representing New Zealand in three out of the seven different New Zealand groups attending the competition.

At the beginning of 2017 Manaia was dancing solely with the group Rebel Youth (based in Auckland). However as the year progressed others requested her talent in their groups, which resulted in her being in Christchurch team, Aperture and a duo performance called Mia and Mya (from Nelson).

“We certainly didn’t expect all three teams to make it through to the world championships, it came as quite a shock,” explained Manaia’s mother Yerane Davies. “It meant a lot more planning and a lot more training, but she was certainly up for the challenge.”

Being a Hip Hop artist doesn’t come without its sacrifices; something Manaia is acutely aware of with nearly all her time dedicated to training running up to the World Championship, as well as extensive travel up and down the country to different training sessions. This has also resulted in her missing time from school, “she is a capable student academically, and so  she goes to her teachers requesting school work to take away with her,” Yerane explained.

The training and hard work certainly paid off for all the groups, with ‘Rebel Youth’ placing fifth, ‘Aperture’ was placed fourth and the duo ‘Mia and Mya’ was also placed fourth. Outstanding results when competing against such a large field of skilled dancers.

With the competition over, a rest period would be expected, however Manaia made the most of her time overseas by attending two dance camps instead. One of which was in Germany and would, had it not been preceded by the Netherlands competition, have been a challenge to attend.

She spent five days at this   camp working with top choreographers from around the world. “This camp was the highlight of the whole trip for me,” enthused Yerane. “Manaia was selected out of all the other attendees to perform a solo of one of the dances that she had learnt, as a demonstration to the others. This was such an honour and showed her current skill level. To be a role model for her peers was outstanding.”

Now that Manaia is back home, she is taking some much needed time to rest before she heading off to two dance camps in January 2018, and the start of the 2018 regional competitions.

“She loves what she does and loves sharing her knowledge, as long as she continues to love it we, as her parents, will continue to support her in every way possible,” concluded Yerane.