’Plain dancers off to Portugal for champs

Youth Development Academy dancers Cassidy Johnson, 18, from Westridge will be competing in Portugal later this month.

Four Mitchell’s Plain dancers will be competing in the Hip Hop Unite World Championships in Óbidos, Portugal, this month.

The Youth Development Academy dancers, aged 9 to 18, qualified for the event at the 2023 South African Sport Aerobic, Fitness and Hip Hop Championships, held in Cape Town in June.

They will now represent South Africa in the Adult Solo Battles Division of the championships from Thursday October 26 to Saturday October 28.

“Whatever you put your mind to, whatever you commit yourself to, with consistency, great things can be accomplished. It means that one can really go a long way when you believe in yourself and your potential,” said one of the competing dancers, Cassidy Johnson, 18, of Westridge.

She’s been dancing since she was 8, and has been part of the academy for more than two years.

Her parents, Tessa and James Johnson, said they were very proud of their daughter’s achievements.

Dancer Micah Jacobs, 11, from Portland, said she was ecstatic and the opportunity to compete overseas had come as a big surprise. She said her older sister sister, Gabrielle, 16, had inspired her to compete. The Grade 5 Montagu Primary School pupil has been dancing since the age of 7, and her parents, Nicolette Smith-Jacobs and Fagrie Jacobs, said she hoped to become a dance teacher one day.

“She has an attitude of positivity. The most resilient child I know and her smile always makes an impact,” said Ms Smith-Jacobs.

Dancer Zia Peters, 9, from Strandfontein, said she had started dance classes with Cassels while at Gérards Educare in Strandfontein.

“I just love dancing. It means a lot to me as I get to travel and meet new people.”

Ms Cassels praised the dancers for making it to the championships.

“I am so proud of them and so excited. I always tell them to not go with expectations but to mainly have fun and do their best. It’s not just about placing first and winning gold but sometimes we remember dancers who enjoy what they’re doing. Dance is a natural movement,” she said.

“Some of our children don’t believe they can make it far, but once they come back to their community, they can pass on this knowledge and help the next person.”

She added: “I wish them all of the best, they should take in every moment, create memories and fall in love with dance every time they’re on stage. We’re rooting for them.”

For more information, contact Ms Cassels at kimmy.cassels@gmail.com.

Dancer Micah Jacobs, 11, from Portland said she is ecstatic at the opportunity that came as a surprise.
Dancer Zia Peters, 9, from Strandfontein, with coach Kim Cassels at the 2023 South African Sport Aerobic, Fitness and Hip Hop Championships held in Cape Town in June where she qualified to go to the Portugal championship.