by Kent Caddick
A talented Selwyn teen, who has a dream to share her passion for dance with others, has been given a huge opportunity to progress her career in the world of hip-hop dancing after receiving an invite to compete in one of the world’s most prestigious dance competitions.
Thirteen-year-old Manaia Davies from Glentunnel has been handpicked by JLo’s (Jennifer Lopez) choreographer Kiel Tutin to represent New Zealand in the Body Rock dance competition in San Diego in June. Manaia said the competition is often called the ‘Super Bowl’ of dance.
“I am honoured to be a part of a select crew of juniors from New Zealand competing at this event,” she said. “Training is every weekend in Auckland, which has its own challenges coming from a small town in central Canterbury.”
It is not just the competition she is looking forward to but also the opportunity to learn new teaching skills as she is passionate about passing on her love for hip-hop to others. “After the competition, I will be attending workshops held by top world choreographers in Los Angeles to further develop my skills and bring them back to my students who I teach on a regular basis.” Manaia only found out about her inclusion in the dance competition early this month and needs to raise around $7,000 to fund the trip, which begins in late June.
She is holding a number of events around Selwyn to raise the funds needed for the trip and has also started a Givealittle page to help out.
“With such a short timeframe to fundraise for this event, we appreciate any donation to help with my journey.
“Thank you to those who have kindly contributed to making dreams come true and turning them into reality.”
She said the funds will be spent on flights, accommodation, costumes, choreographers’ fees and workshops.
So far she has raised $1,300 through the page. To donate go to: givealittle.co.nz/cause/dancing-on-the-world-stage.
Manaia’s love for dancing began at just three years old, and initially, she was drawn to the more traditional forms such as ballet.
The family were living in Australia at the time and at the age of five Manaia was accepted into the Cutting Edge Dance Studio where she was introduced to other forms of dance.
A young Manaia Davies entertaining the crowd at the 2016 Malvern A&P Show
When she was nine, the family moved back to New Zealand and settled in Glentunnel to be near family.
“I got back into dancing with jazz and contemporary, but I found that I had a love and passion for hip-hop dancing,” Manaia said.
“So I scratched the other forms of dancing to focus on hip-hop, and I have been doing that ever since.”
She said her involvement with the other forms of dancing has been very helpful in developing her hip-hop style.
Manaia is dedicated to her craft, choosing to go to Burnside High School in Christchurch to take advantage to the arts programme the school offers, which means travelling to the city every day to go to school, a trip which takes around an hour each way.
“It’s a great environment to be in at Burnside as there are many like-minded people who understand where I come from and where I want to go.”