They’ve popped, locked and fought their way to success and now a hip hop group from Maesteg is issuing a rallying call to local businesses and supporters to help get them to California this summer.
Funk Force’s Funk Forenzix crew is the only Welsh group to have qualified for a place in the World Hip Hop International Dance Championships, which will be held in San Diego in August.
But to get there the group needs to raise more than £8,000 in just eight weeks.
Natalie Davies, who coaches and choreographs routines for the Funk Force’s 50-plus members and four competing crews, said they can scarcely believe their success and are determined to do all they can to get to the Stateside competition.
The 21-year-old, who established the group in 2011 with just 12 young dancers, said: “We recently competed in the UK Hip Hop International Dance Championships in Portsmouth, where elite dance teams from all over the UK attended to fight for a chance of representing the United Kingdom in San Diego.
“The crew who qualified were Funk Forenzix, who have been very successful over the last year, taking first place in every competition we have entered.
“But we knew that Hip Hop international is the hardest competition out there and entered with the mind that we wanted to dance well and have fun. But we didn’t believe we would get placed.
An ‘incredible achievement’
“The style we do is different to what most people are used to seeing on the TV or in dance shows. We focus on the old hip hop funk styles such as locking, popping and waacking, and this makes us different to other crews who mainly focus on street and acrobatics.
“We thought this could either go against us or make us stand out in a good way.
“They danced the best they ever had and it paid off. When we found out we were third in the UK in Varsity division, we were over the moon, but we were even more ecstatic when they announced that the judges wanted to put us through to worlds to represent the UK.
“We were so happy - the screams were deafening.
“It is such an incredible achievement for our young dancers, and to be the only Welsh team attending feels unbelievable.”
Funk Forenzix - consisting of Amy Thomas, Kieran Davies, Courtney Thomas, Ellie Jones, Lucia Cirotto, Shaynie Mainstone, Lauren Bumford, and Sinead Humphries - are now busy juggling their intense training schedule with planning fundraising events.
Two of the dancers are preparing to take part in a sponsored sky dive, and the group is hopeful that their hometown and beyond will show their support.
“We have to raise a lot of money to pay for the dancers to go and achieve their dreams of competing on an international stage, representing their home country and the rest of the United Kingdom,” added Natalie, who works full-time as a Young Ambassador Intern for the Education Achievement Service as well as running the not-for-profit club.
Funk Force needs you!
“We are aiming to raise as much as we can ourselves, but we really need our town and our country to really get behind us and help us get to California.
“We are looking for companies to donate or sponsor us as the money needs to raised by the end of June. Any donation, large or small, will be very much appreciated.”
To support Funk Force’s American ambition, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Natalie on 07885373986.
More information on the group and its competitive crews can be found at www.funkforcedance.com.