The M-PROS Tobago dance team left for Phoenix, Arizona yesterday to compete in the World Hip-hop dance championships from August 5-10.
The championships have brought together over 4,500 dancers from over 50 countries to battle in breaking, popping, locking, whacking and many other hip-hop dance styles.
Group leader Vennorick Cupid told Newsday on Tuesday the team will represent TT in the mini crew category.
He said, “We have had difficulty raising funds but we were able to get what we needed through sponsorship by TTPS and Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe. She was instrumental in helping us acquiring out visas.”
The five include Cupid, Orel Cooper, Destin George, John Chapman and Monique Cooper.
He said because not all seven group members were able to get visas they decided to enter in a different category.
“We will be going into a mini crew category with Orel, Destin, John and myself, Monique is a substitute."
Cupid said the crew has been dancing for five years.
Last year was the first time they qualified to represent TT, and the year before they came second in the TT Hip Hop dance competition. The group also placed first in Apex Got Talent in 2015 and performed at the Tobago Jazz Festival in 2018.
“It was a struggle, because we are the only group in Tobago that competes in these types of competition, and we have very limited resources due to the fact that it’s a foreign element. We have issues standing out and keeping relevant out there.”
He acknowledged the group also struggled with staying motivated and persistent.
“There aren’t any hip-hop dance tutors and/or facility reserved for us. Everyone more has a focus on the folk and culture dances on the island. So we really had to become our own teacher, while being the students, as we try to compete against the world’s best.”
He said the team hopes to top its category and make TT proud.
“Especially for Tobago, we hope to become ambassadors letting people know Tobago has the ability to perform in the arts sector, regardless of not having tutors and resources. We can leave our mark. We hope to win the mini crew category since it’s a new thing, and we think we have a good chance to set a new standard for young people. We want to show them dancing can take them around the world. They don’t have to stay within TT; their talent can land them in Las Vegas or Arizona.”
The group returns to Tobago on August 13.