Local dancers Eka Darville (front, 19, of Byron Bay, Chloe Hilaire, 17, of Bentley, and James Deane,16, of Byron Bay, show some impressive moves.
Local dancers Eka Darville (front, 19, of Byron Bay, Chloe Hilaire, 17, of Bentley, and James Deane,16, of Byron Bay, show some impressive moves. Jackyln Wagner

It's still hip for young to dance

"HIP HOP is my God, my saviour, my bread and butter - it's my everything," said choreographer Travers Ross when he visited 15 local young dancers in Lismore yesterday.

The choreographer, who has worked on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance, was one of the mentors chosen to teach and inspire members of a young hip hop troupe who began an eight-month mentorship program this week.

Project manager of Homebase 2, Bernadette Gardiner, said the program would develop the participant's artistic skills in all areas of hip hop culture and assist each participant in creating local community art projects.

"There are dance, MC-ing and film-making workshops every day this week, and then the mentors will stay in touch with this year's participants, both face-to-face and over the phone, during the next eight months," she said.

"The program ends with a hip hop concert later in the year. It's important for young people in regional areas to know there are other kids just like them who love hip hop."

A dancer from Byron Bay and participant in the program, 19-year-old Eka Darville, said bouncing ideas off other hip hop fans living in the area had been a great way to start the program.

Chloe Hilaire, of Bentley, who is also in the program, hopes to use what she learns to put a show together with her friends.

The program was initiated by NORPA Dance Action and is sponsored by Lismore City Council and other community partners.

Travers Ross said the program was a great way for young people to express themselves and help unite a community.

"Dancing, especially among males, has started to become a lot more popular because of So You Think You Can Dance,
and it's a great way for the community to realise that hip hop isn't just something enjoyed by an isolated group," he said.

As the group of 15 inspired locals grinded their way around the Lismore City Hall dance studio yesterday, it was easy to see they were already taking on board the Travers Ross philosophy of dance - you don't just learn the moves, you must 'feel the music'.


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