KOCHI: Hard work always pays off! Three years of sustained efforts have put this dance team on the map. Paul Dance Studio, a Thiruvananthapuram-based dance academy has qualified for the International Hip-Hop (HHI) competition by winning bronze at the national level.The decade-old academy, which specialises in hip-hop, was the sole team from the state. They won against 71 competing national teams, mostly from the northern States.
Out of the 71, the three top teams have been selected for the final competition in the US. Ratheesh Karunakaran, founder and chief choreographer of the academy, said it was their dream to qualify for this event and have been training for this for a long time now. Three years ago we decided on the performers and started working out. The initially decided crew changed due to various reasons and five new members were taken for the programme, he said. Altogether nine members participated in the group, the maximum limit for the hip-hop style.
The academy is active with choreography work for leading dance reality shows in the state and stage programmes but this prize was totally unexpected, as it was their first attempt at the national-level. We were first in the semi-finals against 40 teams, but in the final round of 25, we came down to bronze. We are rectifying our errors and will make the necessary changes and perform our best in the competition in the US in two months, Ratheesh said, who has been a dancer for 15 years.The auditions were held in Mumbai and there were 10 teams from Maharashtra alone.
Ratheesh said their team was received with great applause after the prelims and semi-finals. Their choice of Malayalam songs, one of which was violin version of popular track 'Padakali' from the film Yodha, for the performance also attracted the viewers. The seven-member judges from abroad and other people there noticed us for our performance and style. We will try to continue that excellence, he said. The US leg of the competition will have competitors from Germany, Canada, Japan and Korea. The date and other details of the international competition are yet to be known and the team is currently engaged in completing other procedures. Ratheesh pointed out their achievement was enabled by team effort and they expect to put on a good show when they go overseas.