Bramalea Secondary School student Jendayi Dyer has been enrolled with Jade’s Hip Hop Academy since its inception five years ago. She has represented the dance school with distinction over the years in various competitions and shows across the province.
Now, Dyer is looking forward to the biggest opportunity in her performing arts career. She and six other academy hip-hoppers will travel to New York this weekend to audition for Americas’s Best Dance Crew, the competitive dance reality TV series that features street dance teams.
“By far, this will be the biggest dance act that I will be involved in and I am really looking forward to just going there and doing well,” said the Grade 10 student. “I am excited.”
Auditions take place on Saturday. If the Canadians impress the producers, they will be recalled on Sunday for a second try-out.
Artistic director and choreographer Jade Jager Clark is confident that the dancers will hold their own in New York. Some 220 youth and adults are enrolled in the Brampton-based academy.
“This is the biggest stage they are going to be on,” conceded Clark whose passion for dancing started in high school in Peterborough. “I chose the kids that I felt demonstrated what we needed for the competition. You are required in a very short time to come up with a dance and then execute it as best as possible. Obviously, I needed the fastest learners and those who are strong in all elements of hip-hop such as popping, locking, breaking and krump.
“I also took into consideration those who are committed and perform under pressure.”
Two years ago, the academy qualified for the World Hip Hop championships in Germany. They however could not raise the funds to participate.
“That was a bit disappointing, then again to make it all the way to the world championships was a huge honour and something we are still proud of,” added Clark, the Youth Day dance director and City of Brampton Arts Acclaim award recipient. “There are many people who still do not take hip-hop seriously and others confuse it with the commercial dance you see in music videos. Then, on top of that, you have to get people to believe in the professional ability of the young dancers.
“We have had to overcome many obstacles and challenges to get to where we are and that’s why we are so focussed and determined to do well in New York this weekend. It’s not often you get these opportunities and we want to show that we belong and we want to make Canada proud.”
Auditions are also taking place in Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles up until February 5 for America’s Best Dance Crew’s sixth season which premieres in April.
Originally developed by NBC, the series winner receives US$100,000.