Help get Tara to hip hop champs in America

XO Empire dance crew practises on an open field in Northpine.

Kuils River dancer Tara Africa, 13, has a chance to represent South Africa at the World Hip Hop Dance Championship in America this August, but she needs help getting there.

Her mother, Hayley, noticed her daughter’s talents when she was only 4. She played music videos to encourage Tara and noticed how easily she picked up the moves.

Four years ago, she got Tara in at XO Empire, a dance school in Northpine, Kraaifontein, that gives free tuition.

Last November, Tara and her crew stunned the judges with their dancing skills when they competed at the Africa Hip Hop International competition at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

More than 12 dance crews were part of the competition, and only six crews were chosen to represent their country at the World Hip Hop Dance Championship from August 3 to August 11 in Phoenix, Arizona, in America.

This will be Tara’s first international dance championship if she can raise the R50 000 she needs for her flights, accommodation and spending money while in America.

The shy 13-year-old says it is her dream to dance abroad and she doesn’t want to miss the opportunity.

“I would like to dance everywhere around the world or even open stage with Jennifer Lopez,” she says.

Hayley is determined to do whatever it takes to get her daughter to America.

“Being a single mother, I will give my all to have my daughter to see that stage in America this year. I am hosting club nights, selling boerewors rolls and curry bunnies to my neighbours, and I am hoping to see a great support.”

Tara has won medals in many competition and she came first and second for her school talent shows last year at Kuils River Primary, where she was well known for her talent.

“My friends and teachers always wanted me to dance for assemblies and for my principal,” she says.

She is now in Grade 8 at Soneike High School and strives to do well in school despite wanting to be a world-renowned dancer.

XO Empire’s coach, Craig Julie, says he is proud of all the dancers in his crew despite not having a dance studio.

Craig has been teaching dance on an open field in Monterey Way in Northpine for the past six years. He says he is amazed that some of his dancers have been chosen to represent South Africa.

He says because he does not charge to teach dance he cannot afford to hire a community hall, never mind a dance studio.

When the weather is bad, some of the dancers offer up their garages to practice.

“The weather during winter is a challenge, but it does not stop us from what we love doing. We practise in a garage or someone comes along and says we can use their space.”

Craig adds: “For the time that I have been teaching dancing, the dedicated dancers could be anywhere else but they choose to come to my practice sessions instead. This is motivation for me.”

To help Tara, call Hayley at 063 179 7430. To help the crew, call Craig at 074 666 4321.