Hip-hop cop steps out in Marlborough
Charlotte Codlin’s used to dancing to the beat and getting others to fall in line behind her.
Now she’ll be stepping up on a different beat, as a newly-graduated constable on the streets of Marlborough.
Back in 2015, Charlotte and her sister Rebekah established a not-for-profit dance school in Blenheim called Street Dance Federation.
Constable Codlin, recently graduated from Wing 329 at the Royal New Zealand Police College, is proud of her new achievement, but was certainly proud of her hip-hop dance school opening up for kids who wanted to dance but couldn’t afford to.
“I was a founder of, director and choreographer for Street Dance Federation, a non-profit dance school created to give under-privileged youth in Marlborough the opportunity to learn to dance who would not otherwise be able to afford it,” Constable Codlin says.
In just four weeks of opening up and training, their new dance troupe took out the People's Choice award at the 2015 Marlborough Top Talent event.
Street Dance Federation offered low-cost dance classes in Blenheim several nights a week with the help of sponsors.
The sisters volunteered up to 15 hours per week while setting up their school and taught anyone who came to their classes, for a very small fee.
Between them, they have more than 20 years of formal dance experience across many dance styles, including Highland dancing, jazz ballet, salsa, Latin American and hip-hop.
However, their workshops focused more on hip-hop.
Their classes ensured their students would have performance opportunities at music festivals and at almost all major local events throughout the year.
Constable Codlin and her sister Rebekah were back-up dancers with some of New Zealand’s biggest acts, including the Black Seeds and Tiki Taane.
Constable Codlin says: “I trained around 90 students in hip-hop dance two to four evenings a week.
I established the dance school when I was 15 years old along with my sister, but sadly we have now closed the dance school as I was joining the New Zealand Police.
The work ethic and the fitness I had to run our dance school certainly helped with my application to join the Police.
“Often times people feel vulnerable when learning to dance, so creating an environment where my students felt comfortable and safe to express themselves freely was important to me as a dance teacher.
This is a skill I will bring into my role as a constable especially when working with victims.
“Valuing diversity is one of the core values in the New Zealand Police.
Building a good rapport with diverse groups within my community is something that came naturally to me as a dance teacher,” Constable Codlin says.
“As a dance teacher I learned to lead with clear communication to coordinate my students and ensure everyone felt ready for performances.
Communication is key in order to maintain safety and efficient teamwork during incidents, so I look forward to putting this into practice in Police.
“Dancers in general often naturally develop this kind of skill set which is something I noticed during my time as a dance teacher.
I would encourage any dancers out there, men or women, who are interested in a career with the Police to pursue their goal.
“I am interested in most areas in the Police and am keen to gain experience on the frontline for a while before choosing what to specialise in.
However, I am especially interested in joining the Family Harm Team, Youth Aid and Search and Rescue,” says Constable Codlin.