East London dancers step up

Jo Jackson Dance Company team placed eighth at international event

A group of East London hip-hop heads flew the South African flag high when they came eighth in an international dance competition at the end of October.
The Jo Jackson Dance Company recently returned victorious from the International Dance Organisation (IDO) Hip-Hop World Championships in Poland.
“Achieving eighth place is remarkable coming from not just SA, but also little East London,” said dance trainer and company founder Jo Jackson.
The competition ran from October 23 to 27 and saw the Jo Jackson senior hip-hop formation team compete against 28 teams and make it to the semifinals, narrowly missing the finals by one placing.
“We were a little disappointed in missing the finals, but we can still hold our heads high knowing we competed on an international level, gave it our all and achieved a great result,” said 35-year-old dancer Candice Sellers.
From teenagers to moms, the team of 20 dancers is made up of a diverse bunch ranging from 14 to 36 years old.
“I have been dancing with Jo since the age of nine and this competition was really rewarding, the highlight was without a doubt representing SA at an internationally recognised event. We all felt humbled, honoured and proud to be representing the country,” said 30-year-old dancer Kyle Nienaber.
To qualify for the international competition, the group won the Sun City Battle of the Giants, KZN Hip-Hop Day and Gauteng Hip-Hop Day competitions.
“There were other duos and soloists who qualified to represent SA, but unfortunately they didn’t make it due to visa problems,” said Jackson, who last had a team compete in the IDO World Championships in 2006.
Wowing judges with an energetic routine choreographed by Rudi Smit, the team has been working on perfecting the steps since January this year.
“It’s not easy taking dancers with different individual styles and getting them to look and dance as a unit. It takes a lot of time and work,” said Sellers.
The team will be preparing for their next competition – the Dancestar World Finals – in Croatia in May 2019...

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