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Hip Hop Dance Competition Projects Positive Experiences For Youth On Stage

Crux 2023 (Photo supplied)

What started as an entry-level competition allowing novice dancers the opportunity to take to the stage has evolved into a must-attend competition for hip-hop dancers around the country.

Taking place at Mercury Baypark Arena this June, Project is now one of New Zealand’s largest and most respected street dance competitions.

A dance competition for youth passionate about hip hop. The event allows young people from Tauranga, Western Bay and throughout the country to showcase their creative expression in an environment encouraging participation and enjoyment.

Sarah Martin started this dance competition fifteen years ago while teaching at Te Puke High School and learning the school’s dance crew lacked the confidence to enter the national competition. With no entry-level competition to dance in front of large audiences or be on a professional stage, Martin saw a gap in the local dance space that needed filling.

Project now allows dancers to gain experience and is known as a professional quality event that nurtures the development of dancers, locally and from afar.

Dancers, team choreographers, managers, families, friends and dance enthusiasts will flock to Tauranga and Mount Maunganui over King’s Birthday long weekend, despite this not being a qualifying event.

Event Director Sarah Martin says Project offers many young dancers the chance to take to the stage for the first time, and it wouldn’t happen without the support of local funders.

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“Local funders know that Project nurtures up-and-coming dancers through our competition process, which can be daunting for many. Their support allows dancers the chance to dance in front of a large crowd, which has extremely positive flow-on effects,” says Martin, “with improvements in their behaviour and social interactions at school and in the community.”

“Project could be in a school hall, but the experience of dancing on a professional stage, with a large crowd, empowers dancers to go on to compete at bigger competitions with confidence from having had a positive and supportive experience at Project in the early years of their dancing careers.”

2024 is the competition’s 15th year, which has grown from hosting nine crews and 70 dancers at Baycourt in 2010, to 2023 where 73 crews and over 760 dancers congregated at Mercury Baypark Stadium to perform in front of 2,100 spectators.

The Tauranga Western Bay Community Event Fund granted Project $35,000 for expenses associated with the competition.

The fund is a partnership between local funders Acorn Foundation, BayTrust, TECT, Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council with the core purpose of supporting community-led events and those that encourage participation for free or at low-cost.

BayTrust’s Chief Executive Officer, Alastair Rhodes, says this event is important to the region as it began from humble beginnings.

“Project was started by local dance teachers, who saw local youth in our community missing out on key dance opportunities due to limited exposure to large stages and audiences,” says Rhodes. “This event shows the commitment our community members have for the areas they’re passionate about and that they will spend their own free time and energy to build something for others and give them their chance to grow.”

“Project has now, for years, allowed dancers to experience a high level of competition and a chance to showcase their skills on the biggest stage in Tauranga and Western Bay.”

Project is excited to welcome back dancers for another weekend of positive and heartfelt experiences to show off incredible talent, offer free workshops and show the young dancers of our region and the country, the pathways of dance.

Event Details:

Project Youth Hip Hop Dance Competition

1st and 2nd June 2024

Mercury Baypark Arena

More information available on entering Project or attending the competition are available at

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