Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Two GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis (WSO) students have danced their way into the record books and become the first UAE-based students to win awards at the globally recognised UDO World Street Dance championships.
Sixteen-year-old Aston Mtada and nine-year-old Frank Tate put their school and the UAE on the world dance map when they competed against hundreds of young street and hip-hop dancers from all over the globe at the virtual championships.
Aston Mtada took the top prize, winning first place in the under-18s Solo Freestyle categorywith his high-energy afro-beats/dancehall performance, whileFrank Tate’s hip-hop routine won third place in the under-10s Solo Freestyle category.
The two WSO performing arts students, were among thousands of dancers from across the globe who came together to compete for World Street Dance Champion titles in front of a panel of top judges.
These included Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy MBE, who collaborated with renowned director Danny Boyle on the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, and Christian ‘Big Kris’ Alozie, a founding member of UK dance troupe Flawless, who has worked with famous artists including Beyoncé, Rihanna and Kylie Minogue.
Aston Mtada said: “I want to say thank you to my dance and performing arts teachers. I never saw myself as being good, but through their encouragement and always being there to help, motivate and teach me, I know now what I can achieve!”
Meanwhile, Frank Tate, who experienced his first major competition, says his love for dance made him more confident when he performed for the judges.
UDO is the world's largest international street dance organisation, and fastest-growing street, hip-hop and commercial dance brand globally. The UDO World Street Dance Championships are considered to be the height of the street dance competition calendar.Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the four-day event, held from 25-30 August 2020, was fully virtual, with competitors stepping up to the judges from home via webcams and video.
Emma Tate, Dance Programme Manager and UDO Academy Coordinator, GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis, said: “We may not have travelled to Blackpool, but we sure did show the world the outstanding talent we have, not only at WSO but also in the UAE. The UDO Academy Dubai has significantly enhanced all of our students’ dance training over the last seven years in addition to the excellent performing arts curriculum at WSO.”
WSO is GEMS Education’s Centre of Excellence for Performing Arts and Theatre Tech.All students from Foundation Stage 2 to Post-16 are exposed to performing arts lessons each week, led by a team of specialised performing arts teachers.
The school is proud to be the flagship school for the UDO Dance Academy in Dubai – an exclusive partnership that enriches students’ learning through the provision of scholarships and exclusive access to the prestigious ‘UDO Syllabus Street Dance’ qualification, which is a fully recognised teaching qualification in street dance.
To date, 600 WSO students have come through this incredible dance provision and passed their UDO exams. Both of this year’s championship winning students are part of the school’s UDO Dance Academy Scholarship programme.
The hard work of the performing arts students and teachers continues as the new academic year begins, and the street dance team are making moves toward even more wins at next year’s championships in August.