Dance crew do themselves proud in Vegas World contest

Andrew Fisher (age 13 from Donaghcloney), Thea Liggett (age 9 from Portadown),  Laura McKee (age 13 from Glenavy), Fiona Bawn-Thompson (Tutor),  Rachel Forsythe (age 9 from Portadown),  Lile Lavery (age 9 from Craigavon), Clodagh Bawn (age 11 from Craigavon).

Andrew Fisher (age 13 from Donaghcloney), Thea Liggett (age 9 from Portadown), Laura McKee (age 13 from Glenavy), Fiona Bawn-Thompson (Tutor), Rachel Forsythe (age 9 from Portadown), Lile Lavery (age 9 from Craigavon), Clodagh Bawn (age 11 from Craigavon).

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A local hip-hop dance crew recently returned from the world championships in Las Vegas haven’t given an amazing account of themselves.

Just five months ago the Picasso crew were preparing for a Dance competition in Killarney, with no intention or expectation of what was to come.

In March their tutor, Fiona Bawn-Thompson made the decision, after talking with parents and the dancers to start work on a new routine to enter the world qualifiers in Dublin.

After training for just five weekends and travelling up and down to Dublin to train and rehearse with one of the top choreographers in Ireland, they qualified to represent the country in the World Hip-Hop Championships in Las Vegas.

The work had only just began. With six kids and two tutors to get to Las Vegas, the work was well underway to try and fundraise over £10,000 in just three months to pay for the flights and accomodation.

With fundraising events every single weekend, and with the kids attending every one of them, as well as their intense training regime, they sacrificed their entire summer for dance.

With over 30 big events to organise and dance at within such a short space of time, the kids, parents, tutors and other FADDstudios and family members dedicated every waking hour to ensure that these kids could get to the world championships that they had worked so hard to qualify for. With the generousity of the general public, family members, friends, local groups and businesses the group achieved their fundraising target. For this Picasso are truly thankful to every single person and organisation who helped by supporting them to get there. Their dream became a reality.

When in Vegas, the kids were up at 5am to train at 6am, and again in the evening. Their dedication and commitment at such a young age was remarkable, and they knew that they were out there to work hard!

They were up against crews who had been competing at this level for years, who had been training since the worlds ended last year, who had qualified against hundreds of crews in their own country to get there, and who all meant business.

Needless to say, they gave it their all on stage and blew the crowd away with their performance.

“The Talent was unreal,” said Fiona Bawn-Thompson. “You could never imagine so many exceptionally talented children in one room. Every routine was amazing to watch.

“The kids watched the first few before they had to go side stage. There was a genuine fear, and a few tears shed before they had their team talk.

“I could only imagine how daunting it was to have to perform in front of such a huge crowd and some of the best dancers in the world. It was very emotional for everyone.

“When the results for the semi-finals were being called out we were sitting at the side of the stage when ‘Picasso’ was called out. We couldn’t believe that we had made it to the semi-finals, in the worlds.

“We will never forget that feeling. These are memories and an achievment that will stay with these kids forever.”

Picasso were the only junior crew to get through to the semi-finals from Europe. They finished 16th place in the world, over other crews from much bigger countries. The kids from the crew are from Craigavon, Portadown, Donaghcloney and Glenavy and are aged between nine and 13.

For more information on Picasso, or FADDstudios classes please contact Fiona on 0795 573 6929, dance-drama@hotmail.com or www.facebook.com/FADDstudios