A group of south Auckland teenagers taking the internet by storm say their success is down to their style.
Inspired by Will Smith’s American sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a video of the dance production by the students from Manurewa High School (MH) posted on Facebook has gone viral being viewed over 330,000 times, and shared over 6255 times.
Calling themselves the ‘Rewa All Stars’, they won second place at the recent Hip Hop International NZ Mega Schools Street Dance Competition held in Manukau.
Part of the crew were year 13 student leaders, Nese Godinet and Iavana Seuala. They both acknowledge the first place winners, saying the performance by Mount Albert Grammar School (MAGS) was “really outstanding” and that the MH going viral was shouldn’t dampen their spirits.
“The reason we went viral was because we were original and creative,” Nese says.
What started with 90 students auditioning ended with 37 taking the stage. Over five to six weeks the students practised endlessly after school and on the weekends too.
“Dance is a way we unite. The competition was a way for us as a school to showcase what dance is to us,” he says.
“People in our crew come from broken homes and different backgrounds, but dance is a way we can connect with each other. It brings us happiness … we make everyone feel like family. It’s important because at home they probably don’t get the love they get with us dancers.”
Iavana says you only see the “bad things about us” on social media.
MANUREWA HIGH SCHOOL/FACEBOOK
“With this video going viral, it’s bringing a lot of recognition to our school and community. This is the real Manurewa.
“Some of the best dancers in the world come from South Auckland. It just shows us that we can do that too.”
He says there are many reasons students choose to dance, some do it for their families, others to prove to their families that dance could turn into a potential career.
“Us going viral is not rubbing it into MAGS’ face. We respect everything they did.”
Both boys see a future in dancing with the contemporary style holding their attention for now.
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Entirely led by the students, the production was overseen by dance teacher Mele Taeiloa.
She says although the school missed out on the top spot because of technique, they covered the creative side of things. Taeiloa who believes dance can be a fulfilling career move is also instrumental in helping her students’ parents understand that.
“Our families migrated from the Islands for opportunities and those opportunities look like doctors and scientists … they don’t really see dance as a career.”
“The work the students produce is louder than anything I have to say,” she says.
“As a South Aucklander, you can’t help be proud of the work they’re doing and putting Manurewa up there.”