Solway College students perform in Wellington as SOULC. PHOTO/ANDREW TURNER


Aspiring hip hop dancers from Solway College busted out their best moves at Hip Hop International over the weekend in Wellington, placing sixth out of 15 in the varsity division.

Crew manager Janine Tupaea told the Times-Age it was the world’s biggest hip hop dance competition and was “a very prestigious event”.

SOULC was the only crew to enter as a school group while others all came from established dance companies.

Formed as part of the college’s Horizons Programme, students range from Year 9 to Year 13.

Paige Mowbray 18, Ella Phillips 17, Tabitha Leinfellner 16, Fern McCallum 16, Esther Leinfellner 13, Nevaeh Greenlees 13, and Briella Tupaea 13, trained themselves every Saturday afternoon with the aid of Auckland based choreographers and dancers Victoria Medina Villapol and Anton Pulefale, who SOULC member Briella Tupaea had met when she was dancing for the Notorious Dance Company in Auckland.

“We were all extremely proud of their resilience, determination, and performance on the stage,” Tupaea said.

An injury suffered by crew member Ella Phillips during practices meant they needed to make “significant changes to their sets a couple of days before the competition, which reduced the number of dancers from seven to six.

Tupaea said other entrants were surprised the group came from Wairarapa.