This Saturday 18 April, the crème de la crème of urban dance go head to head in the 11th annual Step-Off Urban Dance Crew Competition at Festival Hall.
The event – part of National Youth Week – is the culmination of months of hard work from 36 crews, all battling it out to be crowned top dog in the world of hip hop and urban street dance.
In the busy run-up to the competition, we caught up with event organiser, and top hip hop dancer Arna Singleton, to find out more.
What can people expect to see when they come to Step Off?
When people attend Step Off they will witness over 500 young performers who will create such a dynamic performance on stage that it has the crowd screaming for more. The atmosphere is filled with such positivity and support. Anyone who attends Step Off for the first time always says how much they loved it and how they had no idea that such an event existed. The dancers’ age ranges from 7 to 25 and the junior crews are actually just as good as the senior crews. All the top urban dance crews compete at Step Off, so you ‘re witnessing the very best in this art form.
How much work do the dancers have to put into preparing for the event?
The dancers will put in hours and hours of work. Most are doing at least 4 to 8 hour rehearsals per day over the school holidays. This is all volunteering – purely to work hard at their passion and show themselves at their best. Events like Step Off allow these performers to have a platform to perform, as there are not many opportunities for these dancers to regularly show what they do.
How do you think the dancers benefit from taking part in the competition?
The entire dance crew community comes together at Step Off so all the dancers benefit by entering an environment where they can be supportive of each other. They learn and grow as performers from the experience. To be their best, they must work as a team and the experience bonds them together – they refer to themselves as family.
What are your top tips for the crews preparing to compete?
My top tips for preparing for the competition are: to make sure you have read the rules thoroughly and ensure your crew is informed about the day; to organise yourselves so that you have the best lead up to the day with your rehearsals – so nothing is left to the last minute and no dancers are stressed. Most of all, get ready to have an exciting experience and enjoy the show!
Step Off is run by Moonee Valley City Council in partnership with City of Melbourne, and takes place Saturday 18 April 2015, from 6pm til late at Festival Hall. It is a drug, alcohol and smoke-free event.