Logout

Monday, July 15, 2024
10.1 C
Masterton

ADVERTISE WITH US

My Account

- Advertisement -

Opaki … like to move it, move it

A group of dynamic Masterton youngsters hope to shimmy, pose, and chant their way to the top of the podium at this year’s national Jump Jam championships.

Two teams from Opaki School’s Jump Jam will be representing Wairarapa at the 2022 Jump Jam North Island National Competition after receiving a personal invitation from Jump Jam founder Brett Fairweather.

The Opaki Junior Jets and Opaki All Stars won their categories at the Wairarapa regional Jump Jam competition in August – dazzling the judging panel with their high-octane choreography and charismatic stage presence.

Fairweather, a former aerobics champion who created Jump Jam to introduce young Kiwis to joyful movement, attended the Wairarapa event – and handpicked both Opaki teams to compete at the North Island championship, held in Tauranga this weekend.

Though several Wairarapa schools have sent Jump Jam crews to national tournaments, Opaki is the first to be selected by Fairweather himself.

Jump Jam, now practiced in 90 percent of New Zealand primary schools, is a fusion of aerobics and dance, adapted for children – also incorporating elements of hip hop, jazz, tap and cheerleading.

Opaki School adopted Jump Jam in 2017, and the All Stars and Jets have been undefeated at the Wairarapa competition ever since – apart from last year, when the Jets were “pipped at the post” by Hadlow School.

This weekend, the Wairarapa “Jammers” will face off against 53 teams and perform for a panel of six adjudicators – and hope to return home with a national trophy for the silverware cabinet.

“I keep joking with our principal that we’re going to need a bigger space for all our awards!” coach Karen Wilson said.

“We’re very proud to have been chosen by Brett. He was so impressed with the kids – Jump Jam is his baby, so it was amazing to hear him say their routines were up to a national standard.

“The kids have worked so hard – and we’re ready to knock him dead in Tauranga!”

This weekend, the All Stars will compete in the Year 5 – 8 Strictly category with their rendition of I’m A Believer [from the Shrek 2 soundtrack], while the Jets will perform tI Like To Move It from Madagascar – complete with animal onesies – in the Year 4 Advanced section.

Judges will be scoring the teams on technical execution, presentation, choreography, use of the stage, and sharpness of movement.

A key element of a quality Jump Jam routine, Wilson said, is the use of vocals – which has set Opaki apart from other teams in the past.

“Each routine has to incorporate a call or a chant – so, there’s a bit of shouting involved!

“Between all the movement and vocals, you use a lot of energy.” Wilson said.

“We’re very proud to have been chosen by Brett. He was so impressed with the kids – Jump Jam is his baby, so it was amazing to hear him say their routines were up to a national standard.

“The kids have worked so hard – and we’re ready to knock him dead in Tauranga!”

This weekend, the All Stars will compete in the Year 5 – 8 Strictly category with their rendition of I’m A Believer [from the Shrek 2 soundtrack], while the Jets will perform tI Like To Move It from Madagascar – complete with animal onesies – in the Year 4 Advanced section.

Judges will be scoring the teams on technical execution, presentation, choreography, use of the stage, and sharpness of movement.

A key element of a quality Jump Jam routine, Wilson said, is the use of vocals – which has set Opaki apart from other teams in the past.

“Each routine has to incorporate a call or a chant — so, there’s a bit of shouting involved!

“Between all the movement and vocals, you use a lot of energy. Brett told the kids that if you’re puffing and panting at the end, you know you’ve done a good performance.”

“Luckily, a lot of the kids are involved in sport and dance, so they’re a pretty fit bunch.”

The children were delighted to meet Fairweather in Wairarapa – and receive both autographs and performance tips.

“Brett gave us some really good advice,” Year 6 pupil Rose Hooper said.

“He told us to eyeball the judges – and smile lots, and let the audience know we’re enjoying ourselves.”

Both teams are pulling out all the stops to prepare for the nationals: Practicing at least once a day during school hours, as well as giving up morning tea breaks, lunchtimes and some weekends to rehearse.

Though the prospect of performing “in the big league” is nerve-wracking for the Jammers, Wilson predicts her “angels” will as always, come alive as soon as they hit the stage.

“They just love being in front of an audience,” she said.

“It’s always the kids you think are going to struggle that surprise you. You think they may lack confidence – but they get on stage, lose their inhibitions, and completely shine.”

Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall is the editor of the Wairarapa Midweek. She has been a journalist for the past 10 years, and has a keen interest in arts, culture, social issues, and community justice.

Related Articles

- Advertisement -
Trending
Masterton
overcast clouds
10.1 ° C
10.1 °
9.9 °
88 %
3.4kmh
100 %
Mon
11 °
Tue
15 °
Wed
13 °
Thu
14 °
Fri
16 °