Tessa Holley dances her way to fourth in the world

Date: 2nd November 2017

Krump, swag, iso, reggaeton, electric boogaloo and turfing – it may sound like gibberish to the untrained ear but these are all very technical styles of hip hop; styles that Tessa Holley and her ‘crew’ Aperture performed at the Hip Hop Unite World Champs in the Netherlands last week.

Tessa, Year 10 at St Margaret’s College, has been dancing since she was four but only started learning hip hop at the beginning of this year. Mere weeks after her crew Aperture were formed they were competing at the National Championship in Wellington. Placing second at Nationals qualified them for World Champs, meaning after just a few months of practicing and performing together, Aperture were off to Leiden, Netherlands to compete against 25 other Junior Division crews from 17 countries.

Aperture has eight members aged between 12 and 18 years old. During the school term, they train for four hours, two nights a week and six hours on Saturdays. The lead up to the World Champs fell in the school holidays however, so for three weeks they trained every day for five hours. They set their sights on ‘just’ making the finals but their hard work paid off and after making it through prelims, semi-finals and into the finals they were placed 4th out of the 10 crews that made into the final round of the Junior Division.

Just like jazz, ballet or tap, hip hop is extremely technical. The Hip Hop Unite World Champs saw an internationally renowned judging panel critique crews, based on an extensive list of technical criteria. They reminded crews that, “choreography is only as good as the technique, expression and performance”.

While hip hop takes up the majority of Tessa’s time she still plays social basketball and competed in Stage Challenge. While drama is her favorite subject when thinking about what her future might look like, Tessa is drawn to the idea of working in an industry that would allow her to have a positive influence on others; that could be teaching or becoming a personal trainer – she’s not sure just yet but she is sure she loves hip hop.

“For me, hip hop allows me to express myself in ways that other dance genres didn’t. I’m more passionate and more committed to hip hop. I love that there is always new styles and techniques to learn and how hip hop is always developing and growing.”

For now, Aperture are still dancing together but unfortunately, due to the Junior Division’s age cap, they will only be able to compete together, as a crew, at one more competition. While it might be the end of Aperture it certainly wont be the end for Tessa and her hip hop career. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Tessa!

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