Dubai: Two Dubai students have danced their way into the record books and become the first UAE-based students to win awards at the globally recognised ‘UDO World Street Dance’ championships.
Sixteen-year-old Aston Mtada and nine-year-old Frank Tate, students at the GEMS Wellington Academy in Silicon Oasis (WSO), put their Dubai school and the UAE on the world dance map when they competed against hundreds of young street and hip-hop dancers from all over the globe at the virtual championships.
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Aston took the top prize, winning first place in the under-18s ‘Solo Freestyle’ category with his afro-beats/dancehall performance, while Frank hip-hop routine won third place in the under-10s Solo Freestyle category.
World Street Dance Championship
The two WSO performing arts students were among thousands of dancers from across the globe who came together to compete for World Street Dance Champion titles in front of a panel of top judges.
These included Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy MBE, who collaborated with renowned director Danny Boyle on the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, and Christian ‘Big Kris’ Alozie, a founding member of UK dance troupe Flawless, who has worked with famous artists including Beyoncé, Rihanna and Kylie Minogue.
Aston said: “I want to say thank you to my dance and performing arts teachers. I never saw myself as being good, but through their encouragement and always being there to help, motivate and teach me, I know now what I can achieve.”
Frank loves dancing
Frank, who experienced his first major competition, said his love for dance made him more confident when he performed for the judges.
UDO is said to be the world’s largest international street dance organisation, and fastest-growing street, hip-hop and commercial dance brand globally. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event, held from August 25 to 30 2020, was fully virtual, with competitors stepping up to the judges from home via webcams and video.
Emma Tate, Dance Programme Manager and UDO Academy Coordinator, WSO, said: “We may not have travelled to Blackpool, but we sure did show the world the outstanding talent we have, not only at WSO but also in the UAE. The UDO Academy Dubai has significantly enhanced all of our students’ dance training over the last seven years in addition to the excellent performing arts curriculum at WSO.”
Centre of Excellence for Performing Arts
WSO is GEMS Education’s Centre of Excellence for Performing Arts and Theatre Tech. All students from Foundation Stage 2 to Post-16 are exposed to performing arts lessons each week, led by a team of performing arts teachers.
WSO is the flagship school for the UDO Dance Academy in Dubai – a partnership that includes the provision of scholarships and exclusive access to the ‘UDO Syllabus Street Dance’ qualification, which is a fully recognised teaching qualification in street dance.
To date, 600 WSO students have come through this dance provision and passed their UDO exams. Both of this year’s championship winning students are part of the school’s UDO Dance Academy Scholarship programme.