By Peter Gonzaga
Los Angeles – Being at the bottom the African continent has not tamed South Africa’s Untamed Crew. The South African crew competed in last year’s Hip Hop International and returns to hopefully tame the dance competition staking claim to 1st place in the World Adult Division. Leader and choreographer Rudi Smith has helped the crew grow by heading out to Hollywood and take dance classes. By honing in on the movements he’s learned in America, Rudi has passed it onto his colleagues.
For Untamed Crew, HHI has so much meaning for them. “HHI is very important to us as it gives us the amazing opportunity to compete on an international level and showcase what our crew is about, for the whole world to see. It is the only competition that provides us with international exposure and gives us the opportunity to meet new people, take class with different international choreographers and be inspired all around by the amazing atmosphere and positive energy of the competition.” says Smit.
HHI is familiar territory for the crew as they started competing in 2009. Through their participation in the biggest hip hop dance competition of the world, they have been inspired by other crews that have competed. Rudi Smit says, “The crews that competed prior to that such as Kaba Modern, The Philippine Allstars, Eclectik, Irratik, The Unit etc. They were the driving force for us to start competing too. “
Having formed as a crew four years ago with slight changes in members throughout the years, the crew is now in its current incarnation of 6 members. Rudi explains further, “We formed through an audition in 2009 where 8 dancers were selected to be apart of the crew. When we moved up to the Adult category in 2011, we reauditioned and added 6 new members to the crew (as only 2 original members could compete in the Adult category.)”
There style consists of Nu Skool Choreography, Whaacking,Voguing and Dancehall.
As with many crews, the biggest challenge of competing in Hip Hop International has been finances. “Many have just recently “recovered” from all the money they had to spend last year, and have now had to fundraise again to make sure they can go this year.” says Rudi.
Money hasn’t been then only hurdle. Untamed Crew had to deal with losing one crew member for personal reasons taking the crew from a seven member crew to six. At the last minute, Untamed Crew had to adjust their choreography to fit six members.
But with the difficulties comes the positive experiences of Hip Hop International. Smith excited explains, ” We would like to be the first crew from South Africa to place top 5 this year. (Big goal would be to place top 3!) No crew from South Africa has ever placed top 5, we would love to have that “title” behind our name. However, we are going into it with no expectations whatsoever. We are just working as hard as we can to be the best that we can be!”
Aside from taming HHI and hoping to make the top five, they enjoy the inspiration of other dancers at the event as they hope to inspire others. “We want our performance to catch the attention of those watching and competing, they mustn’t forget “Untamed from South Africa.”” ends Smith.