AN aspiring Pacific Island hip hop dancer has earned an opportunity of a lifetime to compete in the World Hip Hop Dance Championships in Las Vegas later this year.
Duncan Maetoloa who hails from Solomon Islands placed second with Brisbane mega crew ‘HoodNation’ in the Hip Hop International qualifiers in Australia in April earlier this year.
This secured them a place in the finals of the international Hip Hop competition in August where they will compete against some of the best dancers in the world.
Mr Maetoloa who started dancing to Michael Jackson videos as a child told Koroi Hawkins that never in his wildest dreams did he ever think he would make it this far.
He began by talking about the qualifiers in April.
DUNCAN MAETOLOA: It was really good, we, there was a lot of like big crews and big names as well competing there so it was a bit nerve wracking. Academy Brothers were competing as well - they have been to HHI [Hip Hop International] Las Vegas a couple of times. The Z-Boys Mafia its a mega crew of Z-Boys. Z-Boys used to be number two in adults in 2014 so there were fairly big names. So now they have a mega crew which is Z-Boys Mafia. And so yeah it was just a …[inaudible]…
KOROI HAWKINS: Right and you managed to place second in that qualifier and that has earned you a place in the finals in Las Vegas this year?
DM: Oh yeah so we ended up coming second in the qualifiers in the Australian qualifiers mega crew division after Academy of Brothers and Z-Boys Mafia coming third. So the top three from every country qualifies to compete in Las Vegas which we will be competing against all the other top three crews from every country.
KH: And this new opportunity this going to Las Vegas, is this something that you are excited about?
DM: I am so excited very much looking forward to it and yes I have already kind of sorted everything out with my calendar to just make sure that I don’t have anything on that period of time just to be there. And its just like coming from like a Solomon passport that is another process.
KH: Did you, when you started out dancing in the islands, did you ever think that you would end up competing in a dance crew in the finals of the Hip Hop International finals?
DM: I knew I always wanted to go there I dreamed so much about dancing there. I guess every dancer dreams about that, every dancer would be like ‘why wouldn’t you want to dance at the world finals?’ I think the situation just is kind of different for us back there [In the Solomon Islands] because it is a third world country and like you can dream but it is not like you really think you are going to do it. So I think that was the situation there.
KH: And now that you have achieved this so to speak or are about to experience it how do you feel now at this stage and what would you say about your experiences to date?
DM: I don’t know I am lost for words, it is more of a humbling thing to me. I’m just, I am really happy, there is so much happiness in my heart but then again it is really humbling coming from where I come from and knowing that there is always like another whole bunch of kids on the street that would dream to be like here doing that in my position so I just feel like I am doing it for my boys like all my youths back in the Solomons as well.
KH: What would you say to other youth, other young dancers in the Islands starting out and maybe dreaming of achieving dreams?
DM: I mean I would tell them straight like you can dream so much as you can like nothing is wrong with dreaming. But the thing is that only you can make it happen, like no one is going to get you there. If you want to get there, your strength is yourself. You can get yourself there. If you don’t get up and do anything about it nothing is going to happen. If you get up and be something like you can make it happen for yourself.
In August 2015 a record 3000 contestants from 50 countries took part in the World Hip Hop Dance Champions with South Korea’s, Lock ‘N LOL winning gold in the mega crew division.