DANCE DANCE: Duncan Maetoloa, Evander Taumafai and Rendon Pelite from The Hood Dance Academy.
DANCE DANCE: Duncan Maetoloa, Evander Taumafai and Rendon Pelite from The Hood Dance Academy. Luke Simmonds

Hip hop dance crew off to Vegas

JUST four years ago, Jason Weiland had never danced professionally.

But in a few months, the talented dancer will embark on his fourth World Hip Hop Dance Championship in Las Vegas - the first one with his own crew.

Did I mention he's only 20 years old?

Jason is the owner and choreographer of Morayfield's The Hood Dance Academy, which just recently had teams finish second and third at the Australian titles in Sydney.

Both teams have qualified to perform at the world championships in front of thousands of people in the Westin Lake resort and will be televised across America.

"I've always gone with other teams, but to take my own is really sort of surreal," Jason said.

"Everything has been leading up to this moment for a long time and it still hasn't hit me that's my own team.

"All my kids, it's their first time (at the world championships) bar one.

"The main reason I want to do this is to show them the experience I've had and what it's like to be there."

There will be roughly 90 teams from 50 countries appearing in the competition and Jason said the atmosphere at the event would be electric.

"It's really crazy. There are dancers everywhere and everyone is so supportive," he said.

"The vibe is unreal. I can't really describe it. As much as I can tell you, it's just one of those things when you're there it just blows your mind."

But it almost didn't happen for his Varsity team, which was placed sixth overall after the first night of competition at the nationals.

Needing to place in the top three to qualify for the world titles, the Varsity team trained through the night until they perfected the routine.

Running low on energy but mentally wired, the crew blew the judges away to finish third and earn their place at the world competition.

"We were happy with our performance (on the first night), but when we heard the results we just said 'let's go train', because we really wanted it," Jason said.

"All afternoon and into the night we trained.

"Their minds powered them through."

Now Jason and his 21 dancers are focussed on raising enough money to get everyone to Las Vegas on August 5 for the start of the championships.



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