Home Editors Picks West Rand teen dancer Shazia Cassim to represent South Africa at UDO World Street Dance Championships in UK
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West Rand teen dancer Shazia Cassim to represent South Africa at UDO World Street Dance Championships in UK

Shazia Cassim, a talented 16-year-old street dancer from the West Rand of Johannesburg, has qualified to represent South Africa at the prestigious United Dance Organisation (UDO) World Street Dance Championships in Blackpool, England, this August. Shazia and a group of five talented young dancers, Monarchy from Dance Culture Studios, are among 80 dancers who have been selected nationwide to showcase their skills on the international stage.

The selection of Shazia and her team comes after their outstanding performance at the Dance Sport Club League Competition Series in 2023 held under the auspices of the Street Dance Association. Shazia’s exceptional abilities earned her full Protea colours and spots in three categories of the prestigious UDO competition – solo, duo, and group – where she will be proudly representing her country in green-and-gold alongside her Monarchy teammates.

The UDO World Street Dance Championships, renowned as the height of the annual street dance and hip-hop competition calendar is a vibrant five day-event that will draw hundreds of dancers from across the globe to compete for world champion titles in front of celebrity judges and thousands of spectators.

Commenting on her selection, Shazia expressed her excitement and gratitude, saying, “To me, it really means a lot that I can represent my country overseas and show them what South Africans have. It’s always been my dream to travel the world through my dancing. I started dancing when I was five years old and my love for dance has just grown. It’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication and having the right studio with the right family – because my studio is my family. They’ve helped me so much. They’ve pushed me in ways no one else could. It just takes time. I’m really looking forward to seeing other dancers compete again overseas because when we went to Poland watching the other dancers from other countries was so amazing, learning new things, seeing how they practice. I’m just really excited to see that again.”

The Monarchy group, comprising five boys and girls aged 14 to 17, emerged as top contenders at the national competition held in Gauteng last October, where they vied against dancers from various provinces to secure their place in the South African contingent. They are Shazia Cassim from Helderkruin, Kimora-Lee Sirkhot from Meyersdal, Kaden Brownley from Ennerdale, Angelina de Abreu from Dainfern and Gisele de Abreu from Dainfern.

“We are incredibly proud of Shazia and the Monarchy team for their achievement,” remarked Quintus Jansen, Studio Head of Dance Culture Studio. “Their dedication and hard work have truly paid off, and we are excited to see them shine on the global stage.”

Each dancer is responsible for raising funds to cover expenses for the UK trip, with a target of R60,000 per participant. To support these talented dancers in their journey, donations and sponsorships are welcome. For more information on how to assist these dancers in achieving their dreams, please contact Shannon Cassim on 082 332 5866.

The UDO World Street Dance Championships will take place from August 11 to 19, 2024, showcasing the world’s best street dancers and hip-hop artists in an exhilarating week-long event.

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