A troupe of talented dancers left the Isle and jetted off to Hollywood this week, for a unique opportunity to view and work with world-class performers.
Seven members of the Isle-based Street Beat, including dance coach Kim Oakley, will stay in a house at arts centre Venice Beach for over two weeks.
Former professional dancer Kim, 32, said: “This will be the third trip I have made with students. It’s an amazing experience for them and on one of the trips we were invited to perform on spec..
“The trips all started as an ambitious idea but we got in touch with the Debbie Reynolds dance studio in LA, and the IDA (International Dance Academy) on Hollywood Boulevard, and it snowballed from then on.”
The troupe has fundraised over months towards their adventure, and have added their own cash to proceeds from events staged also towards a new studio that Kim hopes to base in the Isle. Prize money from winning the last Doncaster’s Got Talent competition added another £1000 to the pot.
One highlight of their stay will be the ‘Choreographers’ Carnival’ on Hollywood Boulevard.
“Here you can see the highest quality choreography from all over the world showcased,” said Kim. “Last time, a group of Japanese youngsters blew my mind. Hopefully it pushes my students, some of whom are training as dance teachers, to aspire to do more and reach even higher.”
The dance style known as ‘krumping’ was brought back from the States by Street Beat two years ago, and Kim believes it was first seen in the Isle before it became a sensation in London.
“Krumping is a mix of hip-hop and street to rock music....there’s a lot of throwing yourself about and getting rid of anger and frustration,” added Kim. “It’s very high energy and the kids love it. I advertise it on my car and people come up and tap on the window at traffic lights to ask me what it is.”
The party of seven who flew out on Tuesday, includes Charlotte Pritchard, 17, of Epworth, Jake Fields, 16, of Ealand, Emma Kelsey, 20, of Haxey, Jack Sarson, 20, of Epworth, Ayisha Simpson, 22, of Epworth and Jessica Whalley, 21, of Kirk Sandall.
“It’s an intense couple of weeks but is a great opportunity to branch out and discover new skills,” added Kim.
The Street Beat Academy was opened by Kim in her home town of Epworth in 2000, with just eight students. It specialises in all kinds of urban dance and now boasts over 200 students from a wide radius.
It also features its own Street Beat Elite, a gifted and talented section, as Kim believes these dancers are often sidelined in terms of opportunity.